“O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart… If there is famine in the land, if there is pestilence or blight or mildew or locust or caterpillar, if their enemy besieges them in the land at their gates, whatever plague, whatever sickness there is, whatever prayer, whatever plea is made by any man or by all your people Israel, each knowing the affliction of his own heart and stretching out his hands toward this house, then hear in heaven your dwelling place and forgive and act and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways (for you, you only, know the hearts of all the children of mankind), that they may fear you all the days that they live in the land. Likewise, when a foreigner comes from a far country for your name’s sake (for they shall hear of your great name and your mighty hand, and of your outstretched arm), when he comes and prays toward this house, hear in heaven your dwelling place and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to you, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you…
“The Lord our God be with us. May he not leave us or forsake us, that he may incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his rules, which he commanded our fathers. Let these words of mine, with which I have pleaded before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, and may he maintain the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel, as each day requires, that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other.” 1 Kings 8:23,37-43, 57-60
Solomon, who grasped the high transcendence of Almighty God, prayed with high motive and purpose. At the dedication of the temple, his pleas to God were earnest and specific, not for limited action but lofty results- that people would know God, revere His name, delight in His ways, and that this wondrous God would hold sway in their lives.
What do my prayers reveal about my ultimate goals and deepest motives? We can pray for the transitory, the temporal, the easing of pain and discomfort in the here and now. We may get what we ask for, we may not, and either way, we might question God’s concern and be confused at His purpose. Or we can lift high our wonderings, take time and attention to praise, and seek eternal things above. We can plead that we and others will know and revere God through every trial, opportunity, conundrum, situation, and decision. We can ask that God have His way with our will, exercising full reign of our hearts and taking residence in our every drive and passion. When we so seek Him, He will be magnified no matter what, and for that, He is worthy. (Colossians 3:1-2)
Exalted Father, fix my heart on You. May all my pleadings be for Your highest renown, and others’ highest good.