On Sunday, we considered the mission of God’s people at our stage in the story. Our mission is to “go and tell,” which is a change from the “come and see” pattern of the Old Covenant. And yet, in another sense, the mission of God’s people across all history has remained identical: we are to invite the nations to know and love and worship our God. “Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!” (Psalm 96:2–3). “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
I hope you catch the dominant note here, the primary reason and the ultimate goal of our mission: God’s glory, which is to say, God being worshipped by all the nations. John Piper has capsulized this truth in these unforgettable words:
Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever. So worship is the fuel and goal of missions. 1John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad!: The Supremacy of God in Missions, 3rd ed., Baker Academic, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2010. Page 15.
When we connect this truth up to what we learned about prayer a week before, we discover that the very first thing Jesus taught us to pray for—”hallowed be your name” (Matthew 6:9)—is a prayer for the mission. As we pray for God’s name to be glorified, we are praying that more and more people would love and honour and worship Him.
“Hallowed by your name” is just another way of saying, “Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!” (Psalm 67:3).