Before the entire congregation of Israel, Solomon took a position before the
Altar, spread his hands out before heaven, and prayed,
God, God of Israel, there is no God like you in the skies above or on the earth
below who unswervingly keeps covenant with his servants and relentlessly loves
them as they sincerely live in obedience to your way. You kept your word to David my father, your
personal word. You did exactly what you
promised--every detail. The proof is
before us today!
Keep it up, God, O God of Israel! Continue to keep the promises you made to
David my father when you said, "You'll always have a descendant to
represent my rule on Israel's throne, on the condition that your sons are as
careful to live obediently in my presence as you have."
O God of Israel, let all this happen; confirm and establish it!
Can it be that God will actually move into our neighborhood? Why, the cosmos itself isn't large enough to
give you breathing room, let alone this Temple I've built. Even so, I'm bold to ask: Pay attention to these my prayers, both
intercessory and personal, O God, my God.
Listen to my prayers, energetic and devout, that I'm setting before you
right now. Keep your eyes open to this
Temple night and day, this place of which you said, "My name will be
honored there," and listen to the prayers that I pray at this place.
THINK: What's your immediate reaction to Solomon's
candid prayer to God? Think about the
statements Solomon makes and the things he asks God to do. Are they things you could let yourself ask of
God? Or do they indicate a belief in
qualities of God that you have not encountered or experienced? Which qualities?
a sucker for adverbs; so, immediately, I latched on to the words unswervingly
and relentlessly and sincerely. God
unswervingly keeps covenant with those who sincerely obey him and he loves them
relentlessly. When I read that, I
wonder: "Really? What does that look like?" This time a year ago, I would've asked the
same questions but they would've been asked rhetorically and sarcastically
(see, 2 more adverbs). Now…I just want to see.
We did sincerely obey God in our current situation. If the word of God says that God keeps
unswervingly to the covenant He made and that He relentlessly loves those who
are sincerely obedient, then why are we in this position? What covenant is He keeping when He lets
injustice prevail? Of course, I realize
that this is where the relentless love part comes into play. Because God loves us so relentlessly, He will
not give up on us until we are perfected until the day of Christ Jesus. Everything is working toward that end, to
include this situation we are in. I also
know that the covenant He made, that He is keeping unswervingly, is the one
that says that we will get to be with Him in paradise so long as we are
sincerely obedient to His Way. Other
than that, we are also guaranteed to suffer as Christ suffered because the
world will hate us as it hated (and still hates) Him. And, he's doing a pretty good job of keeping
His end of the bargain on that one too.
the only other promise I know that God has made us, regarding our current
situation He made to my mother and that had to do with taking care of me during
this ordeal. Well…we've been cared for. Immensely!
Even if it hasn't looked like I wanted it to or prayed it would.
PRAY: Read Solomon's prayer again, this time
listening for what stands out to you as representing the lack of belief you
noticed in yourself when you read the passage the first time. Explore your reaction more deeply, paying
attention to what it tells you about yourself.
Maybe you feel that you can bring to God only desires that are
completely selfless, or perhaps you don't trust that he "relentlessly
loves" you. Share with God what you
Heavenly Father, in a day and age when so much love we receive is conditional,
it is often hard to believe that there is anyone out there who would love us
just because. It is even harder to
believe that someone would give their lives in return for what could be
nothing. Your love is easy to doubt
because we just don't see it these days.
Fathers leave. Marriages break
apart. Nothing is permanent
anymore. I know this is not the way you
designed the world to be, but that's how it is and it makes coming to you, in
faith, very difficult. It's much easier
to believe a person we can see loves us because they are there to demonstrate
it visibly and tangibly. So much of your
love for us seems to be based on faith and sometimes we just want
"proof" - and no, because we woke up today is often not proof
enough. Because the sun rose in the east
and set in the west, and there's no real reason why is not proof enough. I realize that means that there are many
things we take for granted, Lord. So
many things. And yet…here we are. And unless Jesus returns in the middle of the
night, I imagine that today is going to go pretty much like every other day in
my life, with or without the bumps and bruises.
With all this, it's hard to feel like, or believe, that you would answer
a prayer that is not completely selfless because we know that we have done
nothing to deserve you answering any of our prayers. It's much easier to have faith in your
answering a prayer that is selfless than it is to believe you will answer a
prayer that only seems to benefit ourselves because you don't want your
children to be self-seeking. So, Lord,
my prayer, tonight, is that you would help us with our insecurities that drive
us to feel like we have to justify everything we ask for that is just for
ourselves. We will have what you give
us, but, as a Father, as a Good Parent, you want your children to also ask for
the things they want, as well as for the things they need. Help us to step out in faith and pray for
those things, trusting that you will hear us and that you want to hear those
prayers. Help us to ask and keep asking;
to seek and keep seeking; and to knock and keep knocking. Lastly, Lord, please, pay attention to our
In Your Son's Precious and Holy Name,
LIVE: Ignatius of Loyola once said,
"Everything that one turns in the direction of God is prayer." No matter what has arisen in you during this
time - irritation, fear, desire, disinterest, lack of trust in God - it can all
be prayer when shared with him; it's all part of your conversation with
God. Notice how Solomon lets his anxiety
and insecurity spill into his prayer to God, and allow yourself to do the same.