I love the simplicity and clarity of the Valley of Vision prayers. Listen to this on the goal of our lives:

“There is one thing that deserves my greatest care,
that calls forth my ardent desires,
That is, that I may answer the great end for which
I am made —
to glorify thee who hast given me being,”

That’s so brilliant. With everything in life I am simply to ask: does this make God look great and does it help others?

Helpfully the prayer continues to confess that we don’t always live that way or see that great goal as central as we should:

“Yet, Lord, how little is this the thought of mankind!
Most men seem to live for themselves,
without much or any regard for thy glory,
or for the good of others;
They earnestly desire and eagerly pursue
the riches, honours, pleasures of this life,
as if they supposed that wealth, greatness,
merriment,
could make their immortal souls happy;
But, alas, what false delusive dreams are these!
And how miserable ere long will those be that
sleep in them,
for all our happiness consists in loving thee,
and being holy as thou art holy.”

Again that is so helpful. What stops me living for the glory of God and the good of others is more often than not a false idea about joy and happiness. I wrongly presume that self-centredness is the route to joy when in fact it brings eternal misery.  God’s desire for us to live for his glory and to put the needs of others ahead of our own is not to make us unhappy, quite the opposite, it’s the path to eternal joy.