A Christian's Prayer in Six Words
"Lord Jesus, glorify Yourself in me!"
This petition seems to me the very greatest, with respect to one's self, which it is possible for any one to offer. To ask for earthly gifts or benefits is right and good, if the request is offered in submission to God's will. To ask for spiritual grace or help is still better, and we know that such desires are especially pleasing to God. But in asking that Christ may be glorified in us, we include both of these — and yet the petition goes far beyond them.
If I offer in faith this prayer, "Lord Jesus, glorify Yourself in me," I plead for all temporal supplies that will enable me to glorify Christ in holy, happy service. Moreover, I plead for deliverance from all forms of evil and temptation — and for the bestowment of every grace in which God delights.
But I rise higher than this. Self is cast down — and Christ is exalted! The honor and glory is for Him alone. I seek that I may share with angels and archangels, the privilege of bringing some tribute of praise to His footstool. Whatever by grace I am, whatever by grace I may be enabled to do — here I pray that it may redound to His glory and be as a crown upon His head.
And, in seeking this, I go farther still. I am seeking to give honor to the Eternal Father. For he who glorifies the Son, glorifies the Father also; and "he who does not honor the Son — does not honor the Father who sent Him."
"Lord Jesus, glorify Yourself in me!" I value this prayer, because it is the echo of the Christian's heart to the words of our Lord on the night before His death. He had prayed to His Father, "Father, glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You!"
And this prayer was fulfilled. It was fulfilled in His death when He bruised the serpent's head. It was fulfilled at His glorious resurrection when He triumphed openly over all His enemies. It was fulfilled when He ascended to the right hand of God, and the gates of the Celestial Kingdom received Him back to rule in the Father's name. It was fulfilled when the Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost, and thus gave evidence of His exaltation.
But it has been fulfilled ever since, and is being fulfilled today in His people. He could say, as in verse 10, "All mine are Yours, and Yours are mine, and I am glorified in them." Thus Paul prays for the Thessalonians, ad Epistle, chapter 1:12 verse, "That the name of the Lord Jesus may be glorified in them, and they in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."
Therefore, as a closing thought for the readers of this little book, I would invite you to offer this prayer. It will bring you the very richest blessings. It will enable you to fulfill the Master's own desire and purpose for you. It will embrace every other petition that would be profitable for you. Let this be a key-note for the various changes that life may bring.
Whether in the sunshine or the shade;
whether rejoicing or sorrowing;
whether living or dying —
still pray, and pray in faith, "Lord Jesus glorify Yourself in me!"
To enable you to offer this prayer more intelligently and more earnestly, let me endeavor to point out in what way Christ is glorified in His people, and may be glorified in you.
1. Christ is glorified in the conversion and salvation of His people.
Far away over mountain and hill, do we mark the Good Shepherd fetching home His lost ones.
No sacrifice is too great.
No toil is too hard.
No suffering is too much.
And when the lost sheep is found, and the wanderer reclaimed, then does He rejoice in the fruit of His agonies and death. He sees "of the travail of His soul, and is satisfied." Then His marvelous compassion, His abounding grace, His almightiness to save is manifested in the eyes of saints and angels. Then Christ is glorified as a Savior, whose promise is faithful, and whose precious blood can cleanse the vilest sinner.
Was He not glorified when the dying malefactor was rescued from the very jaws of destruction?
Was He not glorified when Saul of Tarsus became Paul the Apostle?
Was He not glorified when the Philippian Jailer was melted to contrition and brought to believe in Him?
And again and again is He glorified now in the turning of sinners from their evil way, and in the glorious salvation which He bestows. Let me mention but one case: A young naval officer was entering a first-class railway carriage. A tract was put into his hands; but, after a glance at its contents, he tore it in pieces and trampled it under his feet. But it did its work. His eye had caught one word — Sin, and this seemed to reprove him.
When the engine began to move, the hissing noise of the steam appeared to his conscience to be still sounding, "Sin!" "Sin!" "Sin!" At last he spoke to himself. "Sin! Sin! have I not had enough of it? Has it not ruined my constitution, and brought upon me great suffering and pain?" That very day saw the beginning of a new life. He received Christ, and at once began to work for Him. With great zeal and earnestness for some months, he witnessed bravely for the Savior whom he loved; and even when he could no longer speak for Christ, he gave away Christian books and tracts, in the hope of leading others to His footstool.
In this case too was Christ glorified in the salvation of a precious soul. And here let me put a question to the reader.
Have you in this way glorified Christ? I know not who you may be, into whose hands this book has fallen; you may dwell in town or country; you may be a busy active man of business; or you may have your sphere of work within some quiet home, but I ask you: has your conversion brought honor to Christ? Have you been brought back to the fold by the Good Shepherd? Have you learned to know your sin, and have you brought that sin for pardon to the Savior?
Are you in Christ — or out of Christ?
Are you guided by the Spirit — or by the flesh?
Are you a child of this world — or a true-born child of God?
If as yet you are far from peace, far from Christ, far from God — I ask you to consider your position, and to see your danger. You know not what changes may soon be coming to you. Even now you may be standing on the very brink of the grave — and you all unprepared to meet it!
A beautiful story is told in history of the Duke of Argyll, and the quiet peace he enjoyed in anticipation of death. A privy councilor came in to see him in his cell, and found him sleeping in his irons, the peaceful sleep of infancy. The conscience of the man smote him, for he had been seduced by bribes to oppress Christ's people. In an agony of remorse and shame he flung himself on his couch. A friend asked him, "What has disturbed you?" "I have been in Argyll's prison," he replied. "I have seen him within an hour of eternity, sleeping as peacefully as ever man did. But what of me!"
Suppose you were "within an hour of eternity," where is your peace? What would be your thought?
Why, then, not seek peace and life and salvation now — this very day — this very moment? Why not humbly offer this prayer as a sinner, if you cannot as a Christian?
"Lord Jesus, glorify Yourself in me! Glorify Your name as Savior, in saving me from the guilt and power of old sins. Magnify the riches of Your grace in the forgiveness of all that is past, and in raising me to a new and holy life!"
Not in vain shall you thus seek Christ. He will pardon. He will cleanse. He will save you to the uttermost, and thus manifest His own glory in your everlasting salvation.
2. Christ is glorified when His people bear His image in the world.Christ, in His risen, glorified body, is at the Father's right hand. He is no longer here on earth, as once He was, mingling with sinners, and yet pure from the least taint of evil. But He is exalted far above all principalities and powers, fulfilling His mediatorial office, and awaiting the day when all His enemies shall be put under His feet. But He has left you and me, if we are indeed His people, to live, and walk, and act as His representatives here below.
We are to let His beauty be seen upon us. We are to let the power of His Spirit so work in us, that in the eyes of the world around may be manifested some rays of His glorious holiness. We are to go forth clothed in His meekness, His purity, His love, His heavenliness, His unselfishness — that sinners about us may gain some faint idea of His grace through His likeness seen in us.
Thus Christ is glorified in His Church. When, from beneath the humble garb of some lowly disciple, there shines forth something of Christ, something of what He was here on earth — here is a sermon which none can dispute, here is an appeal to the human conscience, more eloquent than the most powerful address ever made from the pulpit. Christian, do you thus glorify Christ day by day? Does your life speak so distinctly and plainly for Christ that men cannot fail to hear? Does your temper, your tone of thought and speech, bear witness that you walk continually before God?
Do you carry Christ with you, wherever you go? Do men take knowledge of you, that you have been with Him and that He is with you? Is there transparent sincerity in what you say, and unsullied integrity in all your actions? Is there the spirit of constant self-sacrifice — trampling SELF under foot, and spending time and money and life for the welfare of others? Is there a deep hatred of sin as sin, and a desire to do the will of God under all circumstances? Is there a fixed determination rather to die, than willfully to break a single command, or cast a shadow of dishonor on the name of Him who loved you? "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:16
You may have seen a beautiful picture which was in the Royal Academy a few years ago. It is called, "Diana — or Christ." It is a Christian maiden who will not dishonor her Savior. "Let her but cast a few grains of incense on the shrine of Diana — and she shall be free."
Nay, not one grain will she cast. Her steadfastness draws a tear from many an eye. Even the young women who are votaries of the goddess cannot but weep. But she is "faithful unto death." She can die — but she cannot, and she will not, bring reproach on Him who bought her.
Is there with you something of this spirit? Do you desire to have far more of it? Do you "long to be like Jesus," and every moment to live devotedly and wholly in His service?
Then for this purpose plead with Him this prayer, "Lord Jesus, glorify Yourself in me!"
3. Christ is glorified in His people when they manifest unswerving loyalty to His truth.
The glory of Christ is bound up in the truth which He proclaimed. He came to "bear witness of the truth." His whole life and teaching was to set forth the truth. Yes, more, the very essence of truth is Christ Himself, in all His work and offices.
Hence in any way to change that which He taught, to add to it some new doctrine, or to cut out some element of His teaching — is to dishonor Him in His great office of Prophet of His Church, and to cast a slur upon His infinite wisdom.
Or look at it in another light. He is the Divine Physician, and the truths revealed in Holy Scripture are the unfailing remedies for the wounds and diseases of our sinful humanity.
The doctrine of the Fall and of man's exceeding depravity,
the solemn penalty of eternal death decreed for the breach of God's holy Law,
the boundless grace which brings a free pardon in Christ's blood to the greatest offender,
the need of the Holy Spirit to renew the soul in His image,
a life of good works the fruit of a living faith —
these are the truths which God employs for the recovery and salvation of the sinner.
But you must not tamper with this healing balm. You must not add a new element, or imagine that you can well dispense with one or other of these truths. You must not cut out the severity of Divine judgment against sin, or tone down the awful denunciations of the Word — by some strained and novel interpretation. You must not add a new element by turning the ambassador of Christ into a sacrificing priest, or block up the way to the Mercy-Seat by instructing men that they must confess their sins to a fellow-mortal, or change the purpose of the sacraments by making them anything else than precious means of grace, and as such only helpful and profitable when used aright and in the spirit of true faith.
In every way be thoroughly loyal to God's truth. Be not moved by the shifting winds of human opinion. Be not drawn aside by loud pretensions of superior Churchmanship. Cleave to the Word in all the breadth of the truths which it proclaims. Accept nothing which is not therein revealed or may be proved thereby. Be a standard-bearer in the army of Christ — and let that standard be an open Bible. So will you glorify Christ and obey His precept, "You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about Me!" John 5:39
4. Christ is glorified in the believing prayers and intercessions of His people.
Every petition that is offered in His name, every true approach to the throne of grace through His mediation, every act of heartfelt praise presented through Him to the Father — brings glory and honor to Him as our Great High Priest.
O that we knew more the value of prayer! Day by day we may hear a voice, "Ask what I shall give you." A merciful Father is ever stretching out to us hands full of precious gifts, and we have but to stretch out the hand of faith to receive them. Christ delights to present our humble desires and petitions, and by His own worthiness to ensure a gracious answer.
Then let the Christian glorify Christ by the reality, the earnestness, and the frequency of his prayers. Be often a beggar at Heaven's gate. Often climb Mount Olivet and breathe your longings there. In times of trouble get to the Lord right humbly and trustfully, and soon your sighs shall be turned into songs of joy. In times of temptation flee to the Lord in prayer, and He will be your sure refuge. In times of hard toil and multiplied duties mingle your work with prayer, and it shall be sweetened by some blessed token of God's presence. And in each and all of these seasons might you not find comfort and help in the prayer which is at the heading of this address? "Lord Jesus, glorify Yourself in me!" Surely this will adapt itself to each varying circumstance, for what but blessing can come to you from anything, if in it Christ be glorified?
And may not this prayer suggest the very highest form of intercession on behalf of those you love, or those for whom you desire to pray? Substitute for the last word of the petition, the name of parent or child, husband or wife, friend or neighbor — and you ask for them the very greatest benefit it is possible to conceive. For if Christ glorifies Himself in them, if He glorifies in them His present mercy, grace, love, and power — what present and eternal gladness must assuredly be theirs!
5. Christ is glorified in the souls you lead to His footstool.
Remember that every soul saved by Christ is a jewel of priceless worth, taken out of the mire of sin and ignorance, and fixed in the Redeemer's crown, to shine brightly there for evermore! Every soul saved is a kingdom rescued from rebellion and anarchy, and established in peace and security under the sway of the great King. Therefore, if you would glorify Christ, yield yourself up to Him to go forth on His errands, to carry His messages to the lost and perishing — and by kindness, by persevering effort, by earnest prayer, endeavor to fetch home to His fold those that are gone astray.
Go and read the Word of God to some child of sorrow, or to someone laid low on a sick-bed, and the Spirit will go forth with you and touch the conscience and teach that tried one to find rest in Jesus.
Get five minutes' quiet talk with a working man coming home from his daily toil, and who can tell but you may drop the right word which may be to him a seed of eternal life?
Strive to find out those you mingle with in society where there is a sense of need and unrest, and lend the Christian book, or strive to gain their ear for the sweet message of forgiveness and complete salvation in Christ.
Be as an elder brother or sister among the young ones. Show them what a bright and happy service is that of the Lord Jesus. Try to encourage the least beginning of better things, and point out the steps by which they may rise above the temptations that surround them.
It will not be lost labor. If only you look for Christ to guide and direct you, there will be some result for each effort, and perhaps when you speak the least, God will most bless your desire to do good.
A few months ago I heard an instance of this. A chaplain was going his rounds in the jail at Chatham. In one cell he saw a man who was a pitiable object. He had often been in prison for his crimes, and he determined that he would not perform the ordinary prison labors. So he managed to wound and injure himself that he was scarcely able to stand. The chaplain, when he saw him, only said, "Poor fellow," and dropped a tear — but this was to him the most powerful sermon he ever heard. It led him to think there must be something good in religion, and he began to read the Bible, which was lying on the shelf. Before long he began earnestly to pray; and when he left the prison, he proved the reality of his repentance by doing what he could for his aged mother, whom before he had treated with unkindness and neglect.
Will you not, then, endeavor to honor Christ by daily efforts to win others for Him?
"Lord, strengthen me, that while I stand
Firm on the rock and strong in Thee,
I may stretch out a helping hand
To strugglers with the stormy sea,
O teach me, Lord, that I may teach
The precious things You do impart,
And wing my words that they may reach
The hidden depths of many a heart!"
I remember a monument erected to the learned and judicious Hooker in the church where he used to preach, by one whom he had led to Christ, and upon it the words of Paul, "In Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the Gospel." May it not be in the Great Day that that one soul brought to the fold of the Good Shepherd may be seen to be as great a cause of rejoicing as the able works he wrote, and which have been from year to year studied by successive generations at the universities?
And let me add here: it glorifies Christ greatly when parents seek for their children the kingdom of God and His righteousness, in preference to earthly gain or high position, or any of those things which most men make their idols.
Some time ago I heard of a remark made by an officer in the army before his death. "I want you," said he, "to seek no worldly advantages for my daughters. I want them to know the Lord, and to meet me in Heaven."
Let me also add another remark. Greatly is Christ glorified, when His people watch over the weak ones for Him, and nourish and cherish them, so that they may not fail.
A young bird lay on the ground, apparently quite unable to fly. A young girl gave it a few crumbs, and put it in a safe warm corner in the garden. The next morning she gave it a few more crumbs, and took it up in her hand, and then threw it up a short distance. The little creature, refreshed and strengthened by the care it had received, spread its wings and flew away, quite happy and strong.
And what may not a little Christian care and kindness do for some weak one who may be ready to perish?
All such thoughtful considerateness is very pleasing to the Savior, and not a cup of cold water or a few crumbs of the bread of life thus bestowed, shall ever lose their reward. "And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is My disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward!" Matthew 10:42
6. Christ is glorified when His people glory in Him, and in Him alone.
It is written, "Of Him (that is, God) are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He who glories, let him glory in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 1:30, 31).
There is nothing in the world in which we can glory. Its possessions, its pleasures, its pomp and show, its praise and flattery — what are they? They are like the soap-bubbles which little children blow, glittering for a moment with blue and golden rays, and then bursting, and they are gone! "The world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever!" 1 John 2:17
There is nothing in SELF in which we can glory. "What do you have, that you did not receive?" In self there is nothing but darkness, hardness, weakness, poverty, misery, sin. No single good thing ever did come, or ever could come from sinful man. Try to bring anything of yourself as a ground of acceptance with God, and you must invariably fail. Of yourself you cannot . . .
think a right thought,
cherish a right feeling,
utter a right word, or
do the least action pleasing to God.
Never, never look to self for anything. Never despair because you find your own resources utterly in vain. God knew it beforehand, and He tells you so repeatedly in His Word.
But in Christ alone you may glory. He is the grand reservoir of all spiritual grace and blessing! "It has pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell."
In Him, there is pardon and peace through the blood of His Cross.
In Him, there is unfailing power to lift you above temptation, and to enable you to walk with God.
In Him, there is light and wisdom, guidance and direction, for every step of the journey.
In Him, there is a calm rest, a spring of deepest consolation for all the changes of our mortal life.
"Thus says the LORD: 'Let not a wise man glory of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man glory in his might, let not a rich man glory in his riches. But let him who glory, glory in this — that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises loving-kindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things!' declares the LORD." Jeremiah 9:23-24
Glory in Christ, and in Him alone.
Glory in Him as your Faithful Shepherd, who will care for you, and guard you, and restore you, and keep you even to the end.
Glory in Him as your Unfailing Physician, who will heal your wounds, and bind up the bleeding, broken heart.
Glory in Him as your Great High Priest, who will ever plead your cause before the Throne of grace.
Glory in Him as your Omnipotent King, who reigns over the events of Providence, and will make all things work together for your good.
Glory in Him as your Mighty Redeemer, who will deliver you from every enemy, and make you conqueror over all.
Glory in Him as your Everlasting Portion, remembering that when all else shall take wings and flee away — when the home is broken up, and dear ones die, and means grow less, and health decays, and opportunities for doing Christ's work pass by, yes, when everything on earth fails you — He will be your everlasting treasure, and your unchangeable Friend!
And let this glorying be seen by your entire resignation to His will, and by choosing His path rather than your own.
"Not I, but Christ!" Lord, choose for me,
And make me love what pleases Thee.
"Not I, but Christ!" His will be done,
And mine with His be merged in one.
Myself no longer would I see,
But Jesus crucified for me.
His eye to guide, His voice to cheer,
His mighty arm forever near.
"Not I, but Christ!" Lord, let this be
A motto throughout life for me!