Patterns of Prayer
Gracious Lord, out of my need I cry to You. Challenge me, confront me, fill and renew me today.
Read 2 Chronicles 6:12-42
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
There’s an old saying that “prayer changes things.” What can we learn about prayer from Solomon?
The new phase in Israel’s history is well launched. Under Moses’ covenant with God, hereditary priests were established. Now God has added a dynasty. With Solomon firmly accepted and leaders of all the tribes assembled in front of the magnificent temple, the king kneels to pray. The purpose of the temple is to be a focus for the nation’s prayers.
Notice how the prayer begins with praise, remembering the greatness of God, his faithful love and a concrete example of how he has been true to his promise (14-17). Then there are urgent calls for God’s attention—hear, see, keep your eyes open towards this temple (19-21). These are repeated in the paragraphs that follow, not because God is inattentive or has to be pleaded with to notice us. It is more that one of the principles of prayer is that God looks to us to work with him. We are to call for attention for our needs so that we can recognize and acknowledge his activity in our lives.
In the next seven paragraphs Solomon envisages some or all of the people turning to the temple in various kinds of need. There is an assumption that most problems have some roots in human sin and selfishness, even drought, famine and plague (26,28). Solomon prays that in this temple people will find forgiveness for their own sins and support against the aggression of others. He also prays that God will welcome and respond to any foreigners who are drawn to pray to him (32,33). Finally it is rounded off with a blessing for king and priests and people, freely quoted from a psalm (Psa. 132:11,12) where the Lord at rest with the ark is the appropriate connection.
If you sometimes prepare prayers for public worship you will notice how similarly we pray today after three millennia. How might Solomon’s prayer shape yours?
Lord Jesus, I need to be more intentional, more focused on prayer. Create a new hunger for prayer in my life.
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