Solomon’s Prayer

110_05_0134_BiblePaintingsAt Southern Calvert Baptist Church, we are continuing to walk through the Bible, book by book, over a three year period. We are covering I Kings 8 this week. This is when King Solomon dedicates the Temple to the Lord. His prayer is a beautiful prayer and that is what we are going to study this week. As we observe this prayer, I want us to keep in mind the outline of the Lord’s Prayer. One version of the Lord’s Prayer is found in the Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew 6.

9 “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
10 ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread.
12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]

There is a clear outline to this prayer. This prayer is a teaching tool to teach Jesus’ disciples how to pray.

  1. Relationship – Our Father
  2. Worship – Hallowed be Your Name
  3. Allegiance – Your Kingdom come, Your will be done
  4. Petition – Give us this day our daily bread
  5. Confession – Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us
  6. Deliverance – Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
  7. Worship – Yours is the Kingdom, power, and glory forever

This is not a new way to pray invented by Jesus. This is actually a device to teach prayer. We find models of prayer like this in the Old Testament. Solomon prays according to this model when he dedicates the Temple.

I. Relationship

King Solomon begins his prayer by acknowledging a personal relationship with God. The idea of a personal relationship with God is something that we see all through the Bible. God wants a personal relationship with people.

  • Adam and Eve had a personal relationship with God.
  • Able had a personal relationship with God.
  • Noah had a personal relationship with God.
  • Abraham had a personal relationship with God.
  • Isaac had a personal relationship with God.
  • Jacob had a personal relationship with God.
  • Joseph had a personal relationship with God.
  • Moses had a personal relationship with God.
  • Joshua had a personal relationship with God.
  • King David had a personal relationship with God.

This relationship is manifested by the fact that the presence of the Lord is now among the people.

Then Solomon said, “The LORD has said that He would dwell in the thick cloud. (I Kings 8:12)

God dwells among His people. He knows them personally and He wants them to know Him personally. King Solomon begins by reminding the people that the presence of the Lord is among them. Do you have a personal relationship with God, or do you just go through the motions, maintaining a set of rituals? God desires an intimate relationship with you and prayer is a reminder of that. Prayer is our time to communicate with God. He wants to spend time with us and He is willing to dwell among us. This mirrors the model prayer by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. This knowledge should lead us to want to worship the Lord for who He is. King Solomon moves to the next step in the outline, worship.

II. Worship

What drives your worship? Does God’s character? Do you even know the character of God? King Solomon is very familiar with the character of God because he has a personal relationship with Him.

23 He said, “O LORD, the God of Israel, there is no God like You in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing lovingkindness to Your servants who walk before You with all their heart,
24 who have kept with Your servant, my father David, that which You have promised him; indeed, You have spoken with Your mouth and have fulfilled it with Your hand as it is this day. (I Kings 8)

God reveals His character to us through His Word. King Solomon was very familiar with the Word of God. In fact, his first duty as King of Israel was to write a handwritten copy of the first five books of the Bible.

18 “Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests.
19 “It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes,
20 that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left, so that he and his sons may continue long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel. (Deuteronomy 17)

Not only did King Solomon have to write his own copy of the first five books of the Bible, he also had to read from the Law daily and rule accordingly. Are you a student of the Word of God? This is how you discover the character of God. When you know the character of God, it leads you to worship Him for who He is. In I Kings 8, King Solomon mentions God by His revealed Names. The Name of God is another way of saying the character of God. Thirty five times in this passage, King Solomon makes reference to God as Jehovah. The Name Jehovah means the self-existing One. God is self sustained and He does not need a relationship with us. He does not even need our worship. We need Him. We benefit from a personal relationship with Him. We benefit from worshiping Him. Fifteen times in this passage, King Solomon refers to God as Elohim, the All-powerful, Creator God. God is our Creator and He created us to benefit from worshiping Him. Do you worship God? Once in this passage, King Solomon refers to God as Adonai, the Supreme Ruler, or Master. King Solomon’s worship is based on the fulfilled Promises of God. God always keeps His Promises. Do you know the Promises of God? Have you surrendered your life to God based on His Promises? God is faithful and He has come to us for our benefit. Are you experiencing the benefits of trusting the Promises of God? Next, King Solomon moves to petition, asking God for something.

III. Petition

You have the right to ask God for things once you have a personal relationship with Him and you worship Him. God is not a genie in a bottle from whom we can demand things. Petition is a privilege for those who know God personally.

30 “Listen to the supplication of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place; hear in heaven Your dwelling place; hear and forgive.
31 “If a man sins against his neighbor and is made to take an oath, and he comes and takes an oath before Your altar in this house,
32 then hear in heaven and act and judge Your servants, condemning the wicked by bringing his way on his own head and justifying the righteous by giving him according to his righteousness.
33 “When Your people Israel are defeated before an enemy, because they have sinned against You, if they turn to You again and confess Your name and pray and make supplication to You in this house,
34 then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your people Israel, and bring them back to the land which You gave to their fathers.
35 “When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain, because they have sinned against You, and they pray toward this place and confess Your name and turn from their sin when You afflict them,
36 then hear in heaven and forgive the sin of Your servants and of Your people Israel, indeed, teach them the good way in which they should walk. And send rain on Your land, which You have given Your people for an inheritance. (I Kings 8)

Notice that King Solomon does not begin this section by asking the Lord to do anything for him. Instead, he asks God on behalf of others, his people. That is why the Lord’s  Prayer says, “give US this day OUR daily bread“. King Solomon prays that when his people sin (not if they sin) that they would cry out to God for help (rescue). When God hears their cry, they are to confess their sin. To confess means to agree with God, to acknowledge, to own their sin instead of trying to justify their actions and shift the blame. Have you ever cried out to God for help? When He confronted your sin, how did you respond? After confessing, King Solomon prays that they will repent. To repent means to have your mind changed about your sin and turn to God. Has that ever happened to you? Once the previous three things are done, God extends His forgiveness to us. Our job is to receive that forgiveness and live accordingly. Now, King Solomon lumps himself in with the people. The same applies for him and it applies for us today. Crying out to God, confession, repentance, and forgiveness lead to the next part of the prayer.

IV. Deliverance

Because of their sin, God is going to allow enemies to confront His people. King Solomon prays for deliverance.

44 “When Your people go out to battle against their enemy, by whatever way You shall send them, and they pray to the LORD toward the city which You have chosen and the house which I have built for Your name,
45 then hear in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.
46 “When they sin against You (for there is no man who does not sin ) and You are angry with them and deliver them to an enemy, so that they take them away captive to the land of the enemy, far off or near;
47 if they take thought in the land where they have been taken captive, and repent and make supplication to You in the land of those who have taken them captive, saying, ‘We have sinned and have committed iniquity, we have acted wickedly ‘;
48 if they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies who have taken them captive, and pray to You toward their land which You have given to their fathers, the city which You have chosen, and the house which I have built for Your name;
49 then hear their prayer and their supplication in heaven Your dwelling place, and maintain their cause,
50 and forgive Your people who have sinned against You and all their transgressions which they have transgressed against You, and make them objects of compassion before those who have taken them captive, that they may have compassion on them (I Kings 8)

The people will need deliverance from their enemies. They will need deliverance from their greatest enemy, their own sin nature. The same sin nature that they had is present in us today. As we pray for deliverance, we are reminded of our greatest enemy, our own sin nature that leads us to make bad decisions. Do you realize that your sin nature is your greatest enemy? Do you ask God to deliver you from yourself? Prayer is a reminder of this enemy and praying for deliverance is vital.

V. Teaching/Equipping

Why does God want us to come to Him, cry out for rescue, confess, repent, and receive forgiveness? Because this process teaches us to respect Him.

36 then hear in heaven and forgive the sin of Your servants and of Your people Israel, indeed, teach them the good way in which they should walk. And send rain on Your land, which You have given Your people for an inheritance.

40 that they may fear You all the days that they live in the land which You have given to our fathers.

61 “Let your heart therefore be wholly devoted to the LORD our God, to walk in His statutes and to keep His commandments, as at this day.”

This process teaches us to fear (respect) God all the days of our lives. God teaches us to walk in His ways. This will train us to be wholly devoted to the Lord. It is easy to stray from the Lord when we follow after our sin. Instead, the Lord wants to teach us to walk with Him by walking according to His Word. Do you have a teachable spirit? When we learn from the Lord, He prepares us to share this amazing relationship with others.

VI. Teaching others

It is one thing to tell people to follow God. It is another thing to call people to come with you and follow God. When people see you following God, they are encouraged to do the same.

59 “And may these words of mine, with which I have made supplication before the LORD, be near to the LORD our God day and night, that He may maintain the cause of His servant and the cause of His people Israel, as each day requires,
60 so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God; there is no one else. (I Kings 8)

People are more likely to follow God when you are following God. Telling others to follow God while you do not actually do it is a waste of time. People do not like the phrase, “do as I say, not necessarily as I do“.

41 “Also concerning the foreigner who is not of Your people Israel, when he comes from a far country for Your name’s sake
42 (for they will hear of Your great name and Your mighty hand, and of Your outstretched arm ); when he comes and prays toward this house,
43 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, to fear You, as do Your people Israel, and that they may know that this house which I have built is called by Your name. (I Kings 8)

When people who are foreign to the ways of God ask about the God whom you follow, tell them. Teach others the same pattern. God wants to have a personal relationship with them too. God gives them the privilege of worshiping Him. They must do as you do and cry out to God, confess their sin, repent, and receive the Lord’s forgiveness. This will lead to new worshipers of the Lord.

VII. Worship

The prayer ends similarly to the way that it began. King Solomon ends his prayer with worship. The Lord’s Model Prayer begins and ends with worship. King Solomon followed the same pattern. After learning all of the above benefits, how could you not want to worship the Lord?

What about you my dear friend, do you worship the Lord? Do you have a personal relationship with God? Are you learning His character by studying the Word of God? Have you ever cried out to God for help? Have you confessed your sins? Have you repented and received God’s forgiveness? What stops you? All you need to do is humble yourself and have a teachable spirit and God will do the rest. What a blessing that is!!!

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