Sit before God and listen.
Read 1 Chronicles 17:16–27
16 Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said:
“Who am I, Lord God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? 17 And as if this were not enough in your sight, my God, you have spoken about the future of the house of your servant. You, Lord God, have looked on me as though I were the most exalted of men.
18 “What more can David say to you for honoring your servant? For you know your servant, 19 Lord. For the sake of your servant and according to your will, you have done this great thing and made known all these great promises.
20 “There is no one like you, Lord, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears. 21 And who is like your people Israel—the one nation on earth whose God went out to redeem a people for himself, and to make a name for yourself, and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations from before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt? 22 You made your people Israel your very own forever, and you, Lord, have become their God.
23 “And now, Lord, let the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house be established forever. Do as you promised, 24 so that it will be established and that your name will be great forever. Then people will say, ‘The Lord Almighty, the God over Israel, is Israel’s God!’ And the house of your servant David will be established before you.
25 “You, my God, have revealed to your servant that you will build a house for him. So your servant has found courage to pray to you. 26 You, Lord, are God! You have promised these good things to your servant. 27 Now you have been pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, Lord, have blessed it, and it will be blessed forever.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectDo you find it hard to pray? Why?
David is very distant from us in time, in culture and in experience. It is wonderful, then, how much we can find in this account of his prayer life to teach us about how a 21st-century Christian might relate to God—which is, of course, what prayer is all about. David’s attitude of humility and his thankfulness are key aspects which make this prayer acceptable to God. See if you can find the places in this passage where David: declares the nature of the Lord; reasons with God, on the basis of his promises that he should answer the prayers of his servant; finds himself lost for words—and yet keeps on talking; acknowledges his utter inadequacy as a complete nobody; and ties in the fate of his community and nation with his personal experience.
This is not the only place in the books of Chronicles where determined prayer seems to be closely integrated with the action taking place—in this case with the plans for the Temple. Prayer is David’s lifeblood, not something which happens as a holy aside.
If possible, don’t rush away now to do the next thing. Think about how and where you personally find it easiest to pray. You may wish to set up that situation as best you can right now.
Spend some time in prayer, bringing all that’s important in your life to God, and seeking his heart for your life.
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