God has great concern for His Name and what this world says about Him. We should appeal to God’s Name for the sake of answering our prayers. Are your prayers related to God’s Name and reputation?
We are surrounded by people who mock and scoff at your God. I remember one time way back in the very early days of our church, we came to the east side of San Antonio. And I remember one day we were out, we were evangelizing, and we were going past the Salvation Army. There’s a park there and a lot of the homeless guys that stay in the shelter there, they hang out in this park. And I specifically, I’ve never forgotten, there was a man sitting at a bench and he looked at us with contempt. And he was African American. And he’s looking at us as though we’ve come from another part of the city to this east side. And he just said with contempt, “You’re never going to change the inner city. You’re never going to change the east side.” And I told him, “you’re right. We’re not. But our God is.” That the Lord cares about.
Have you ever read in Scripture when our Lord Himself was praying? John 17. He’s praying to His Father. And do you know what He prayed? He prayed this. He prayed He and the Father and the Father and Him, and they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that the Father sent the Son and loved those disciples even as the Father loved Christ. That the world may know.
I find this very interesting. Several years back, I preached messages, and I have from time to time, preached on those seven churches in Asia Minor. Have you ever noticed Philadelphia? They were one of the faithful churches. Nothing negative said to them. And Jesus said this – He said there are these people who claim to be Jews but they are not. They call themselves a synagogue. He calls it a synagogue of Satan. They claim to be Jews. They were not Jews. And do you know what Jesus said? He said the day is coming when those physical Jews are going to fall down at the feet of Christians. And Jesus said they’re going to know I loved you. It’s like God is concerned about what people think. Notice Moses. “Why should the Egyptians say with evil intent did He bring them out to kill them in the mountains and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from Your burning anger and relent from this disaster against Your people.” In another place, Moses said this: He said to the Lord, “The Egyptians will hear of it.” God said, “I’m going to strike them with pestilence and disinherit them.” And Moses said, “If You do that, the Egyptians will hear of it.” You brought this people in Your might from among those Egyptians, and if You do this – if You destroy these people – the Egyptians are going to tell the inhabitants of this land – he’s talking about Canaan – “They have heard that You, O Lord, are in the midst of this people. For You, O Lord, are seen face to face. Your cloud stands over them and You can go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. If You kill this people as one man, the nations who have heard of Your fame will say…” you know why? You know why? It’s because God wasn’t able.
I’ll tell you this. God has concern for the glory of His reputation and honor. And you can pray that. I have often remembered those man’s words: Lord, that guy scoffed at the ability to transform the east side of San Antonio. Lord, remember his words. You’re not a god like the god of the nations. You are not like the Egyptian gods. You are not like the god of Catholicism. You’re not like the god of this easy believism out here. You are the true and the living God. Lord, arise! Your name depends upon it. Very powerful way to pray.
Excerpt from the full sermon: Spiritual Progress: Prayer (Order & Argument)