Monday, May 28, 2012

The Morning After: One Incredible Prayer (1 Kings 8:12-53)


I jumped back into my series on King Solomon yesterday as we looked at his prayer of dedication that is found in 1 Kings 8. It was a really good study for me for several reasons. Mainly, our church is just about finished with our building project. The first building project for Cornerstone Bible Church. I was intrigued to study the heart of the man who prayed. In this prayer, Solomon displayed several heart attitudes that appear to be important in prayer.

Heart Attitude #1: Reverence
Solomon began his prayer with a few references toward God that show that he knew who God really was. He said, "O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth beneath" (8:23). He said, "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this house that I have built" (8:27). Solomon started his prayer with a heart that God was God and he was not. God is unique and unlike any other god.

And we must not rip this prayer from its context. Solomon is praying in front of the temple, the grandest building around. He had just witnessed God descend in a thick cloud into the temple. Everything about that moment was glorious. It was something that not even Steven Spielberg or George Lucas could replicate in a movie. I doubt there were any people there that had a nonchalant attitude toward God at this moment in time.

Great prayers are born out of a heart that has a great awareness of the greatness of God. A shallow view of God will always produce shallow prayers. If you find yourself praying shallow prayers, you might do well to grab your Bible and study the nature of God. Study His omnipotence. Study His Sovereignty. Studying the character of God will change the way you pray.

Heart Attitude #2: Humility
Reverence naturally leads to humility. When someone has a firm grasp that God is on the throne and is the ruler, that naturally leads to an understanding that they are not. The greatness of God is seen by Solomon mostly in the fact that God is a keeper of His Word. What He promises He fulfills. But that didn't stop Solomon from praying that God would continue to keep His Word. Even though God proves Himself to be faithful, Solomon continued to pray that God would be faithful.

But the heart of his humility is found in vs. 28-30, when in three verses, he calls himself God's servant four times. He is in not in any position to demand anything from God, but he is in the position of begging God for his mercy and forgiveness and grace. God is his master and he is God's servant. Reverence and humility intersect at the end of Isaiah's book:
"Thus says the Lord: 'Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.'" (Isaiah 66:1-2)
Heart Attitude #3: Sincerity
The rest of his prayer in chapter 8 is given to seven real examples of things that he thought might happen. He is blunt, honest, truthful. He does not hide behind any facade, he is real with God. He figures that God already knows what is going on in the heart of mankind. What does he pray for?

He prays for Justice (vs. 31-32)
He prays for Rescue (vs. 33-34)
He prays for Provision (vs. 35-36)
He prays for Deliverance (vs. 37-40)
He prays for Others (vs. 41-43)
He prays for Victory (vs. 44-45)
He prays for Forgiveness (vs. 46-51)

If you want to hear how I work each of these out, check out my NOTES or you can listen to the sermon HERE.

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