Holy Spirit, remove my pride, agendas and misguided intentions. Replace them with Your purposes.
Read 1 KINGS 8:22-30
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“If only you fully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all these commands… the Lord your God will bless you as he has promised” (Deut. 15:5-6). These words need to be followed all our days!
I have to confess that one of the things that turns me into a grumpy old woman is people praying in an open service but keeping their head down so no one but God can hear. I like them to feel free to pray in services, but public prayer is spoken on behalf of everyone else and the congregation needs
to hear in order to be able to say, “Amen.” Solomon’s prayer is addressed to God, but the people need to hear and understand it and make its content their own, for the prayer is packed full of truth. It proclaims again that God keeps his promises but, paradoxically, it also calls on him to keep his promises. This makes sense when we see the “if only” built into the promise that there will always be a descendant of David on the throne (25). When Solomon prays, “Let your Word… come true” (26), he is praying that David’s descendants, including himself, will be “careful in all they do to walk before [God] faithfully” (25).
As for the promises about the building of the Temple–Solomon knows and the people need to know that the Temple is only a symbol. God does not really live in there! Solomon knows that it is not a magic place where all requests made when facing in the right direction will be automatically granted. Symbols are helpful to human beings and Solomon is asking that God’s people, including himself, will come to the Temple and seek God’s mercy and that God will recognize their sincerity and forgive them. When Judah later thought that God would bless them anyway, however badly they behaved, because they had the Temple, Jeremiah calls them to task for their “deceptive words” (Jer. 7:1-11). Solomon apparently would have agreed.
Do you think posture is important in prayer (22)? Have you experimented with other postures? Was it helpful or unhelpful? How can Solomon’s prayer help you in your own praying?
Lord, thank You that I can depend on Your promises–but help me to recognize and fulfill the “if onlys” that are involved for me.
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