June 22, 2018
READ: 2 Chronicles 6:12-21
Hear the humble and earnest requests from me and your people Israel when we pray. . . . Yes, hear us from heaven where you live, and . . . forgive (v.21).
The opening to a prayer written by author Joni Eareckson Tada pulses with praise: “Almighty God, you are our Mighty Fortress, our refuge and the God in whom we place our trust.” In naming God’s attributes, she follows the example of King Solomon in his heartfelt prayer when he dedicated the newly built temple.
Solomon stood before “the altar of the Lord”, then knelt to offer prayers on behalf of his people (2 Chronicles 6:12). He highlighted some aspects of God’s character: He’s unique, He keeps His promises and His love is unfailing (vv.14-15). Only after reminding himself and the people of God’s glory, majesty and love did Solomon offer his requests.
Solomon also acknowledged the tension between what’s known as God’s transcendence and His immanence. That is, although God can’t be contained in “even the highest heavens”, Solomon asked that He would dwell in the temple (vv.18,41). Solomon knew that although God surpasses all we can understand as limited creatures, He delights to be with us.
Solomon asked God to hear “the humble and earnest” prayers from him and for all Israel and not only to hear, but to forgive (v.21). He asked for God’s intervention in their lives, and for His forgiveness for the wrongs he knew they would commit.
Why not try Solomon’s form of prayer? We can start by naming some ways God demonstrates His awe-inspiring character, such as creating us in His image and promising never to abandon us (Genesis 1:26-27; Deuteronomy 31:6). We can echo the psalmists who declare, “The heavens proclaim the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1). Then we can lay our requests before God.
Praise God that He delights to dwell with us and hears us when we pray.
—Amy Boucher Pye
365-day plan: John 4:43-54
What do you learn by comparing and contrasting Solomon’s prayer with Jesus’ prayer for His disciples in John 17:1-26?
How will you consciously worship God for His amazing attributes? How does prayer draw you closer to Him?