Our chiefest care and affection should be carried out to the glory of God when we pray. We should rather forget ourselves than forget God. God must be remembered in the first place. There is nothing more precious than God Himself; therefore nothing should be dearer to us than His glory.

This is the great difference between the upright and the hypocrite: the hypocrite never seeks God but when his necessities do require it, not in and for God himself; but when the upright come to seek God, it is for God in the first place; their main care is about God’s concerns rather than their own. Though they seek their own happiness in Him, and they are allowed so to do; yet it is mainly God’s glory which they seek, not their own interests and concernments.

See Psalm 115:1, “Not unto us, not unto us, O Lord, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.” It is not a doxology, or form of thanksgiving, but a prayer; not for our safety and welfare, so much as God’s glory; not to wreak and satisfy our revenge upon our adversaries; not for the establishment of our interest; but for the glory of God’s grace and truth, that He may be known to be a God who keeps His covenant; for mercy and truth are the two pillars of the covenant.

It is a great dishonoring of God when anything is sought from Him more than Himself, or not for Himself. Augustine says that it is but a carnal affection in prayer when men seek self more than God. Self and God are the two things that come in competition. Now there are several sorts of self; there is carnal self, natural self, spiritual self, and glorified self. Above all these God must have the pre-eminence.

—Thomas Manton


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