1 Kings 8:28
Yet have you respect to the prayer of your servant, and to his supplication, O LORD my God, to listen to the cry and to the prayer…
Describe the scene at the dedication of the temple. Note the fact that it is a king who leads his people to God's footstool. Show the influence of earthly rulers, who not only affect surrounding nations by their policy, but degrade or exalt the moral life of their people by their personal character, and by the tone of their court. Our reasons for thankfulness in the present reign. Contrast the influence of Victoria with that of Charles II. or George IV. Apply the same principle to other kings of men, i.e., to rulers of thought in literature and science. How heavy the responsibility of those who use their kingliness to lead men from God into the dreariness of scepticism; how glorious the powers they may employ to exalt the Lord our God. Solomon is a proof that wisdom is better than knowledge. On this occasion he prayed as the representative and leader of others. A prayer so prominent in Scripture, so remarkable in circumstances, so acceptable to God, deserves consideration, that we may see its elements. It presents the following characteristics:
I. GRATEFUL ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THE PAST. "In everything give thanks" (1 Thessalonians 5:18). "By prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your requests known" (Philippians 4:6). "It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord" (Psalm 92:1). "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits" (Psalm 103:2.) Notice the causes of Solomon's thanksgiving:
(1) God's goodness to his father (ver. 24). Home blessings so wholly unmerited, so richly beneficial.
(2) Divine deliveranve from bondage (ver. 51). Egypt a type of sorrow, slavery to evil habit, etc.
(3) Separation and consecration for God's purposes (ver. 53). The honor of this. Its responsibilities. Its signs.
(4) Rest and quietude (ver. 56). "He hath given rest unto his people Israel." The blessedness of peace to a country, exemplified by the contrast between Solomon's and David's reigns. The freedom from harassing anxieties experienced by many is from God. The rest of heart, which may be ours amidst the distresses of life, is from Him. "Peace I leave with you" (John 14:27). "Heart quiet from the fear of evil" (Proverbs 1:83). See also 2 Corinthians 4:8. For all such blessings we should give God thanks.
II. CONFIDENCE IN THE PROMISES. (See ver. 29 as example.) Show how the patriarchs ever reminded God of His promises. Illustrate also from the pleadings of Moses and the prophets. Prove from Christ's own words that the promises are renewed and enlarged for us, and that only on them cat. our expectancy of blessing be founded. The utility of prayer cannot be demonstrated by reason, but by revelation. In the spiritual realm we know Divine laws by Divine declaration, the truth of which is confirmed by the experience of those who fulfilling the required conditions, test them. "Ask and it shall be given you" (Matthew 7:7) is a promise. But appended to it is the requirement of faith. "Without faith it is impossible to please God" (Hebrews 11:6). "According to your faith, so be it unto you." See also James 1:5-7; Matthew 21:22, etc.
III. ENLARGEMENT OF HEART (ver. 41, "moreover concerning a stranger," etc.) The prayer is remarkable on the part of a Jewish king. Give evidences of the narrowness and selfishness of the nation. We might expect this feeling in all its intensity on such an occasion as the consecration of this temple. But Solomon's sympathies overflowed national prejudices. The tendency of prayer is to enlarge the heart. Christians pray together who never work together. They who are nearest to God's throne are nearest to each other. As we pray, our yearnings go further afield, and we think kindly of the erring, pitifully of the lost, forgivingly of the wrong doers.
IV. LONGING FOR THE GLORY OF GOD. Solomon's chief wish in regard to the temple is expressed in verse 60, "that all the people of the earth may know that the Lord is God, and that there is none else." Our Lord's prayer is like Solomon's in this, that it ends in an ascription of "the kingdom, and the power, and the glory," to God. So with all true prayer. It ends in praise. See how David, in the Psalms, prayed himself out of sadness into joy; out of confession into thankfulness and praise. If we ask something for ourselves, or for others, it should be with the implied wish that it may be granted or withheld, as may be, for our welfare and God's glory. The yearning of each Christian should be that of the Lord Jesus, "Father, glorify thy name." - A.R.
Parallel VersesKJV: Yet have thou respect unto the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O LORD my God, to hearken unto the cry and to the prayer, which thy servant prayeth before thee to day: