The Prayer of Exaltation
God delights in prayer that displays His greatness.
What famous person past or present would you most like to get to know better and why? If the opportunity presented itself, how would you accomplish this?
Do you wish you knew God better? How do we get to know Him more deeply?
As our Father, God wants us to know Him intimately. He desires to continue teaching us about Himself, but in order to know God better we must desire to know Him and spend time in His presence. Prayer is a key to being in His presence, and we will spend several weeks discovering some of the great prayers of the Bible.
Moses is a great example of someone who sought to know God better and had times of intimate prayer with God. While the Israelites worshiped an idol instead of God, Moses desired a deeper relationship with the one true God. Do you have a similar desire to know God better? The goal of this lesson is to help you know God more intimately through prayer as you experience His greatness in your life.
Let's unpack the biblical text to discover what the Scripture says.
Read exodus 33:12-16.
What was Moses’ single request of God in verses 12-13?
What was his purpose for requesting this from God?
Moses wanted to make especially sure God’s presence would be with him each step of the way to Canaan. Moses then recalled God’s reassuring words that He knew Moses by name and that he had found favor in the Lord’s sight. Anyone who seeks to serve the Lord likely feels inadequate for the task. The same was true of Moses. Moses needed the Lord’s reassurance that he would not be alone as he fulfilled the mission God had for him. Moses reminded himself of God’s calling in his life and the availability of God’s presence to fulfill the task. Often, as Christians, we want God’s presence and power but do not take time to get to know God and learn His ways.
Why would Moses have felt the need for God’s presence? What previous events in his life might he have remembered as he sought the presence of God?
In what attitude do you think Moses approached God?
How literally had Moses believed God’s truths that he repeated back to God in verse 12?
To begin his special request, Moses alluded to the words the Lord previously had spoken to him at the incident of the burning bush (3:1-10). God had told Moses to lead the people, but God had not yet revealed whom He would send with Moses to assist him in the journey to Canaan. God had called Aaron to serve as Moses’ spokesperson before Pharaoh (4:14-16) but that was then. The challenge of leading the Israelites through the desert to Canaan was another matter entirely.
Do you think Moses’ faith in God’s Word gave him assurance that God would answer his request favorably? Why or why not?
If the Lord were to withdraw His presence from your life tomorrow, would you notice a difference?
Moses was not afraid to ask God to demonstrate His presence among His people. He needed the assurance of God’s presence to lead him before he could lead the people. Often people in the church undertake ministries without a sense of God’s presence, God’s approval or blessing in the ministry effort, and His power. All Christians who lead in the church can take Moses’ plea for God’s presence to heart. They can pray in a similar fashion that God will grant His presence for the tasks He has called them to do.
Read exodus 33:17-23.
What two reasons did God give for allowing His presence to go with Moses?
God favorably answered Moses’ request. He promised that His presence would go with Moses as he led the people. He had found favor (or grace) in God’s sight. The Old Testament writers referred to both Noah and Moses as those who had found favor in God’s eyes. Because Moses was favored by God, he received the Lord’s grace to help him lead the people from Egypt. We too need God’s favor on our lives so we can continue living for and serving the Lord.
God said He also knew Moses by name. God was not too busy to take notice of Moses or to become involved in his affairs. God had revealed his personal name Yahweh to Moses at the burning bush (Ex. 3:15), but God also knew Moses’ name. God knows each of His children by name and stands ready to display His favor toward them.
God told Moses that he was favored in His sight. How have you experienced God’s favor on your life? Have you seen this reflected in your prayer life at all?
Why do you think Moses asked to see God’s glory?
Moses, confident because of God’s answer to his first request (Ex. 33:13), made a second request of the Lord. He asked God to let him see His glory. This word in other passages related to God often indicated God’s manifest presence. Moses had first prayed that God’s presence would be with him, but then he prayed that God would allow him to see His visible glory. Perhaps Moses needed a greater assurance that God would keep the promise of His presence.
What types of requests do you tend to make in your prayer life when you need assurance of God’s presence?
What do God’s words in the second half of verse 19 tell us about His greatness and power?
In what ways do we have the opportunity to see or experience God’s glory without seeing His face?
Moses had a special encounter with God. Reflect on a special encounter with God you have experienced and explain how it changed the way you think about God.
What things keep people from getting to know God? What is keeping you from being as close to God as possible?
In what ways can you better know the Father this week?
We give you praise God for who you are and what you continue to do. We pray that we would be faithful to seek your glory in our lives, and that we would pray boldly for your greatness to be shown through our lives. Have your way with us Holy Spirit!