God’s Word of Prayer
1 Kings 8:22-40: Solomon prays, praising God for keeping his promises. He asks for God’s blessing upon the Temple and for God’s justice and forgiveness.
(2 Chronicles 6.12-42)
22Then in the presence of the people Solomon went and stood in front of the altar, where he raised his arms 23and prayed, “Lord God of Israel, there is no god like you in heaven above or on earth below! You keep your covenant with your people and show them your love when they live in wholehearted obedience to you. 24You have kept the promise you made to my father David; today every word has been fulfilled. 25 And now, Lord God of Israel, I pray that you will also keep the other promise you made to my father when you told him that there would always be one of his descendants ruling as king of Israel, provided they obeyed you as carefully as he did. 26So now, O God of Israel, let everything come true that you promised to my father David, your servant.
27 “But can you, O God, really live on earth? Not even all of heaven is large enough to hold you, so how can this Temple that I have built be large enough? 28Lord my God, I am your servant. Listen to my prayer, and grant the requests I make to you today. 29 Watch over this Temple day and night, this place where you have chosen to be worshiped. Hear me when I face this Temple and pray. 30Hear my prayers and the prayers of your people when they face this place and pray. In your home in heaven hear us and forgive us.
31“When a person is accused of wronging another and is brought to your altar in this Temple to take an oath that he is innocent, 32O Lord, listen in heaven and judge your servants. Punish the guilty one as he deserves, and acquit the one who is innocent.
33“When your people Israel are defeated by their enemies because they have sinned against you, and then when they turn to you and come to this Temple, humbly praying to you for forgiveness, 34listen to them in heaven. Forgive the sins of your people and bring them back to the land which you gave to their ancestors.
35“When you hold back the rain because your people have sinned against you, and then when they repent and face this Temple, humbly praying to you, 36listen to them in heaven. Forgive the sins of the king and of the people of Israel, and teach them to do what is right. Then, O Lord, send rain on this land of yours, which you gave to your people as a permanent possession.
37“When there is famine in the land or an epidemic or the crops are destroyed by scorching winds or swarms of locusts, or when your people are attacked by their enemies, or when there is disease or sickness among them, 38listen to their prayers. If any of your people Israel, out of heartfelt sorrow, stretch out their hands in prayer toward this Temple, 39hear their prayer. Listen to them in your home in heaven, forgive them, and help them. You alone know the thoughts of the human heart. Deal with each person as he deserves, 40so that your people may obey you all the time they live in the land which you gave to our ancestors.
Today’s Key Verse: 1 Kings 8:23a
“Lord God of Israel, there is no god like you in heaven above or on earth below!”
Reread verse 39. Solomon’s understanding is that God looks at people’s motives as well as their actions. This is similar to the message the prophet Jeremiah would later give the people of Israel and Judah about a new agreement, one in which the LORD would write his laws on people’s hearts and minds (Jeremiah 31:31-34). Why do people’s motives matter?
Sovereign God, you alone are God and there is no god like you in heaven above or on earth below! You keep your covenant with your people and show them your love. Thank you for keeping your promises and for loving us. Amen.
1 Kings 8:41-53: Solomon concludes his prayer.