“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.” Ps. 67:1-2
At the beginning of a new year, many of us pray that God will be gracious to us and bless us in the coming year. It is a good prayer. A wonderful prayer, actually. We want God’s grace and we want his blessing. We want God to shine upon us! We want God to be near to us and close at hand. We want this because our hearts often cry with Peter: where else would we go? Jesus has the words of eternal life! or with the Psalmist when he says, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth I desire besides you.” We want God in our new year. We want his face to shine on us. We want his undeserved favor. But perhaps we don’t often think of why. Why do we want God to draw near with his favor?
Psalm 67 tells us one reason why. We want God to bless us, so that his way may be known on the earth. We want his grace, so that we can fulfill the Great Commission. We want his face to shine on us, so that his great plan of salvation can be spread to all nations. Have you ever thought about this when you ask God for his grace?
Why do we want God’s grace in our marriages this year? So that we can have a marriage that enables the gospel to go forward. We don’t want to have a poor marriage which is taking all of our energy to save it so that we are distracted from the great commission. We don’t want a poor marriage that is a poor reflection of the gospel to our neighbors. We also don’t want a marriage that is merely happy and therefore becomes a distraction: a marriage where we are so content to just be together that we think of little else other than work and weekends. We want God to bless our marriages, to make them strong, so that they become a strong platform in which we can spread the gospel beginning with our neighborhood and ending with the far reaches of the world. God give us this grace!
Why do we want God to bless our parenting this year? So that we can raise children that move the gospel forward. We don’t want to raise rebellious children that take so much of our time and energy that we are distracted from the gospel. We also don’t want to raise children who blaspheme God’s plan of salvation. We want to raise children who are straight, strong arrows used to defeat the enemy and push God’s kingdom forward. We want children who are bold and brave with their friends and who won’t be afraid to leave the boarders of their own country one day. God bless us!
Why do we want God to give us grace in our finances? So that we can give generously and lavishly so that the Gospel may go forward. We don’t want to be tempted to only look out for us. We don’t want to be tempted to live on an island of one. We want to see that God’s work is never stopped because of lack of funding. We want missions, pastors, foster care homes, adoptions, youth ministries, prison ministries, hospital ministries, diaconal aid funds, GoFundMe sites of our fellow believers and many other ministries to all be able to become platforms for the gospel to be moved forward to the nations. God give us your grace!
Why do we want God to bless our churches this year? So that they can be a beacon of light and salty-salt to the neighborhoods around them and to the world. We don’t want churches that are cold, dry and ingrown. We don’t want lukewarm. We want God to bless us with hot, vibrant, life giving love for everyone who walks in our doors. We want abundant love for our fellow churches all around the world. We want God to bless us financially this year so that our deacons have more to give and plenty to work with so that pastors and missionaries can be easily supported and communities can be strengthened by our faith joining together with our works. God bless us!
Why do I want God to make his face to shine upon me as a person? So that I will proclaim his good news of saving grace to everyone I meet through my actions and my words. I don’t want to be a miserable, sad, unloving, non-peaceful, ungracious wretch that can’t see outside of my own little world. I don’t want to be a hindrance to the gospel. I want God to bless me with the fruit of the Spirit so that I will be full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control so that the gospel will flow in a mighty rushing way out of my life in my words, thoughts, actions and prayers. God make your face to shine upon me!
Oh yes, Lord, please bless us this year. Please give us your grace. Make your face to shine upon our marriages, children, finances, churches and our very lives. Do this so that your way is made known on earth and your saving power to the nations. Father bless us so that your Great Commission can go forward this year and until you return.
How are you praying for God to bless you this year? How can you use that blessing to further the gospel among the nations?