The Powerful Name
To the One who is Three and to the Three who are One: You are God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity.
Consider: "We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him" (2 Thess. 1:12). There is great power in the name of our God.
Moses makes the Lord's name the rationale of his prayer (13-19). He is praying for the rebellious community. He reminds the Lord of the proclamation of his name made some weeks earlier in the wake of the golden calf episode (18; cf. Exod. 34:5-7). Effective prayer, like mature praise, is shaped by deep concern for God's honor as well as by anxiety regarding human needs.
Three features of Moses' prayer illustrate its rationale. All are well worth emulating as we pray for others. They arise from Moses making the Lord's name the basis of his intercession.
First, we can build our prayer on the issue of God's own reputation in the outside world (13-16). God has staked on his people the earthly reputation of his name (9). Therefore, if our churches are demoralized and introverted, God's honor is compromised before outsiders.
Second, we can plead the Lord's promises. "The Lord" (YHWH) is his personal, covenant name, and he is a covenant-keeping God (16). As he reveals himself to us, he invites us to respond in first-name terms! In this intimate covenant relationship he invites us when we pray to reaffirm our faith in him as the ultimate promise keeper. This is, in effect, what Joshua and Caleb do (7-9).
Third, we can plead with God to pour his love into the hearts of those for whom we pray (19; cf. Rom. 5:5) and into our own hearts so that we may sense God's deep concern for the world. John 3:16 is a great prayer rationale!
Pray today for friends who are confused and disoriented. Use the Lord's name in your prayer, following Moses' prayer rationale.
Father God, excavate in me a deep hunger for prayer. I want prayer to be my first choice, rather than the last chance.