A Prayer Challenge
by Doug Hazen
They say that the names of God are a good basis for worship prayers. I think I know why. Let’s compare the one person I love and admire more than any other… my wife. Her names are Ruth Emeline. But her qualities especially describe her and are even more meaningful. She is quiet but determined. She is competitive. She is a servant. She is a provider. She is a mother and grandmother. She loves. She laughs. She weeps. There are many other qualities all of which describe this woman I deeply love. But, her names and qualities are limited.
Not so with God. No wonder he deserves worship. His names and qualities are endless. Even Ruth would say there is no comparison. One of our missionaries came up with 286 names and characteristics of God. I don’t think that scratches the surface. His names cover every possible need we have and he is always 100% of each of those qualities. It is interesting to me that many of the biblical writers describe him with a cluster of names. Paul addresses our Savior as the Lord – Jesus – Christ. Three names in one. Isaiah clusters Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace in a single breath. John likes Faithful and True, King of Kings and Lord of Lords in his cluster, not to speak of Lamb, the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. God’s names appear to be endless!
But it gets better!
Consider the compound names of God. For example, he is eternal. He is also gracious. So, we can rightly say that he is eternally gracious. Add to that the fact that he is eternally gracious without reservation. So now he is unreservedly eternally gracious. Can you build it further? He doesn’t discriminate? He extends this grace eagerly? He is creative in his distribution of grace?
No wonder Paul explodes with praise in Romans 11:33-36. “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments and his paths beyond tracing out! For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.”
And no wonder we sing, “Oh praise THE NAME of the Lord our God.”
So, take just one of his names and run it out as far as you can with your praise. Do it this next Monday morning as a first of the week offering. Then cluster it with other names that you love about him. Finally, compound it by connecting his names in sequence. The result for you will be joy. Guaranteed! But there could be a slight downside…
You may be joyfully late for work!