3 things Moses teaches me about prayer

I love this prayer of Moses:

you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. (Exodus 33:12-13, ESV)

It has me thinking about the grounds and content of my prayers.  Here are three things I see from this prayer:

#1. Pray because you are approved by God in Christ.

The grounds of Moses’ prayer is that He believes God’s promise that He is known and approved.

Without this confidence, how could we stand before God?  Begin your prayer by appealing to the promise of God that we are accepted in Christ.

Come boldly knowing that if you are IN Christ then you are literally hidden and wrapped up in His righteous.  That means you can come to God banking on Him to approve of you to the same degree that He approves of Christ.  

#2. Pray for wisdom for your day so that you can know God

Moses begs God to show Him His ways.  He needs direction.

I want that too.  I want God to show me what He wants me to do, what His plan is and where He wants me to move forward.

But, for me – I want that wisdom so that I can control my day.  I want it so that I don’t have to feel afraid of making the wrong decision.  I want it so my life can turn out how I want.  

For Moses wisdom is a means do a different end: “please show me now your ways, that I may know you.”

Ask God today to show you His ways and what He wants you to do – but let the goal be Him.

Know His ways so that you can know Him.  Learn His plan so that you can see His face more clearly.

#3. Pray to know God so that you can honor Him.

Moses wants to know God’s ways so that He can know God SO THAT He can ‘find favor’ with God.

(That’s pretty confusing because we started this thing with the grounds being that he already had favor.)

Moses basically prays:

Because I have your favor I can ask you to show me your ways so that I can know you so that I can find favor with you.

Favor with God is the foundation and the goal of Moses’ prayer.

He wants God to direct his steps so that He can know God because then He will be able to honor God – display His glory more fully.

We are accepted by God in Christ and that’s good news because it means that now – through His Spirit – we can act in a way that honors Him.

For me – being accepted by God in Christ is good news because I can offer God prayers that He hears and that He stewards perfectly.  But how often does it end there for me?  How often do I forget the good news: I’m accepted by God in Christ and that means that God will steward my prayers perfectly to help me see Him more clearly.  And that’s good news because then I’ll be able to reflect Him more clearly.

Is the end of our prayers the glory of God?

Is the deepest purpose in your prayers that you can know God so that you can honor God?


I don’t know if that’s true for me.  So here is my prayer for today:

Father, you promise me that you hear me because of Christ.  So, can I ask you today to direct my steps in such a way that I end up seeing your face more clearly? I want you to do that God because I believe that as I see you I will fall so in love with your glory that I will want everyone around me to see you.  Father – hear this prayer for your name’s sake so that the world will see you as you are.  

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