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What do you find hardest about prayer? As you read, see if Solomon’s prayer offers any way forward.


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Bible passage: 2 Chronicles 6:12–42


Solomon’s Prayer of Dedication

12 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the whole assembly of Israel and spread out his hands. 13 Now he had made a bronze platform, five cubits long, five cubits wide and three cubits high, and had placed it in the center of the outer court. He stood on the platform and then knelt down before the whole assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven. 14 He said:

Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven or on earth—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way. 15 You have kept your promise to your servant David my father; with your mouth you have promised and with your hand you have fulfilled it—as it is today.

16 “Now, Lord, the God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father the promises you made to him when you said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your descendants are careful in all they do to walk before me according to my law, as you have done.’ 17 And now, Lord, the God of Israel, let your word that you promised your servant David come true.

18 “But will God really dwell on earth with humans? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! 19 Yet, Lord my God, give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence. 20 May your eyes be open toward this temple day and night, this place of which you said you would put your Name there. May you hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. 21 Hear the supplications of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place; and when you hear, forgive.

22 “When anyone wrongs their neighbor and is required to take an oath and they come and swear the oath before your altar in this temple, 23 then hear from heaven and act. Judge between your servants, condemning the guilty and bringing down on their heads what they have done, and vindicating the innocent by treating them in accordance with their innocence.

24 “When your people Israel have been defeated by an enemy because they have sinned against you and when they turn back and give praise to your name, praying and making supplication before you in this temple, 25 then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your people Israel and bring them back to the land you gave to them and their ancestors.

26 “When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you, and when they pray toward this place and give praise to your name and turn from their sin because you have afflicted them, 27 then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel. Teach them the right way to live, and send rain on the land you gave your people for an inheritance.

28 “When famine or plague comes to the land, or blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers, or when enemies besiege them in any of their cities, whatever disaster or disease may come, 29 and when a prayer or plea is made by anyone among your people Israel—being aware of their afflictions and pains, and spreading out their hands toward this temple— 30 then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive, and deal with everyone according to all they do, since you know their hearts (for you alone know the human heart), 31 so that they will fear you and walk in obedience to you all the time they live in the land you gave our ancestors.

32 “As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm—when they come and pray toward this temple, 33 then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears your Name.

34 “When your people go to war against their enemies, wherever you send them, and when they pray to you toward this city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name, 35 then hear from heaven their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause.

36 “When they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you become angry with them and give them over to the enemy, who takes them captive to a land far away or near; 37 and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captivity and say, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong and acted wickedly’; 38 and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their captivity where they were taken, and pray toward the land you gave their ancestors, toward the city you have chosen and toward the temple I have built for your Name; 39 then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their pleas, and uphold their cause. And forgive your people, who have sinned against you.

40 “Now, my God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.

41 “Now arise, Lord God, and come to your resting place,
    you and the ark of your might.
May your priests, Lord God, be clothed with salvation,
    may your faithful people rejoice in your goodness.
42 Lord God, do not reject your anointed one.
    Remember the great love promised to David your servant.”



New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society


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The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).

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Meeting place
This great prayer of dedication returns to some old themes: God’s faithfulness, his power and majesty, the inability of buildings to contain him. But the central theme is that the Temple will be a meeting place. Here God will hear the prayers of his people and will respond in grace, mercy and forgiveness. He will bring justice (v 23). He will show them how to live (v 27).

Reconciliation
The Temple is a place of reconciliation where relationship with God is restored. They will sin and face God’s judgement. When they come back to him, God will forgive. This isn’t just for Israel; who else is involved (vs 32,33)? One of the things that upset Jesus was that Gentiles were not able to pray in the Temple (Mark 11:17). All nationalities can come freely to God.

Bigger plan
When Solomon refers to God’s ‘anointed one’ (v 42), he is thinking of himself. But we can see a bigger plan; that one day another descendant of David would come, that one greater than Solomon has come (Matthew 12:42) to open a new way to God. In him there is no condemnation (Romans 8:1), and when we do sin we know that we can be forgiven (1 John 1:9). We can be even more confident than Solomon, because we stand the other side of the cross.

John Grayston

Respond


Pick one idea from this prayer and make it your own today, coming to God through Jesus.


Deeper Bible study


Today we’ve come to what is arguably the high point of Solomon’s life. We know that in the future he will gradually accept the ways and gods of the people around Israel, with tragic long-term consequences (1 Kings 11), but here he’s still the focused, faithful spiritual leader of the chosen people. How can we remain true to God for a lifetime? 

There are many factors that form the answer to that question. One of the most important is prayer; that’s what we see Solomon doing here. All Christians pray, though, and yet some fall away and many don’t finish well. How does prayer make a difference? My wife Carol and I have prayed together throughout our 40+ years of marriage and there’s much we still don’t understand about it, but one thing we’ve learned is that prayer isn’t just asking God for things: it’s also giving God things – our needs and concerns, our sins and grievances, our worship and praise. Submitting everything to God in prayer changes us for good. 

Solomon seemed to have this sense as he knelt down and raised his hands on that platform (vs 12,13). Once again, he acknowledged the greatness of God and affirmed the importance of his promises (vs 14–17). The bulk of his prayer is then taken up with the future requests that would be made in the Temple – for vindication, blessing, provision and protection, to name a few (vs 22–42). The main request, however, would be for forgiveness, something everyone needs (vs 36–39). On behalf of the nation, Solomon’s prayer echoed the truth captured in the words, ‘prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love’.1 Carol and I have also discovered the same truth – and it’s why we need to keep praying.

1 Robert Robinson, 1735–90, ‘Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing’

Whitney T Kuniholm

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The splendour of the king (How great is our God)
Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves & Ed Cash
Copyright © 2004 worshiptogether.com Songs/sixsteps
Music/Adm. by kingswaysongs.com; for the UK & Europe
& Alletrop Music/Adm. by CopyCare
Buy this and other great worship songs at www.integritymusic.com



I have a promise (I trust in you)
Lara Martin
Copyright © 2003 Thankyou Music
Buy this and other great worship songs at www.integritymusic.com




Comments
  • Oakley Bookworm | Thursday, 06 December 2018

    Lo! He comes, with clouds descending, once for our salvation slain; thousand thousand saints attending swell the triumph of His train. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! God appears on earth to reign. - Charles Wesley WORDS: https://hymnary.org/text/lo_he_comes_with_clouds_descending_once MUSIC (HEMSLEY) https://www.wordlive.org/Session/Classic/2018-12-07/Meeting-point

  • Rachael Hampton | Thursday, 06 December 2018

    Spiritual disciplines are called that, because that is what they are. Practices such as deliberately making time for regular Bible study, prayer, gathering with other believers, and quiet space alone with God are the tried and proven framework that keeps our spiritual lives alive and growing. Yes, they can become just ritual, and yes, they will vary according to life circumstances and personalities, but without them we are very vulnerable to the enemy’s enticements. I know I’m preaching to the converted here! Averil, thanks for asking us to pray for Dillon. May he find such joy in Jesus that the ‘disciplines’ are his delight - as they are ours, yes?! Blessings on your stepping out Ray, and continuing prayer for you Hilary, David and others.

  • Clair Oates | Friday, 07 December 2018

    Can anyone tell me what I'm not receiving the daily readings via email anymore? I've been getting them for the past 5 years and suddenly they have stopped?

  • Robert Nicolls | Friday, 07 December 2018

    Claire - I had the same problem and emailed WordLive. Jill Warren replied: 'Thank you for getting in touch. Unfortunately, we do have a technical problem with the WordLive emails at the moment but we are working to fix it as soon as we can.'

  • Elly Pearce | Friday, 07 December 2018

    Oakley I think your link to the music is incorrect. Just comes back to this page. Great hymn

  • Suzie Gallagher | Friday, 07 December 2018

    I hope the glitch is solved soon. I miss the plop of the study on the virtual mat at 2am.

  • Eileen Smith | Friday, 07 December 2018

    Thank you Robert

  • Angela Munday | Friday, 07 December 2018

    Now there is Jesus and everything has changed forever “Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.” (Colossians 3:11).....Our every prayer is between us and God; we share everything when He is invited into our entire life. Nothing is hidden and Jesus is the only Saviour for the whole world. We do not know God’s will, but pray and trust it will be done, always.

  • Thelma Edwards | Friday, 07 December 2018

    Prayer is how we develop our relationship with God. It would be a very poor marriage if I stopped talking to my husband and he to me. We don't just ask questions, we share our feelings, experiences, hopes and dreams, we ask for help and offer help, sometimes we just sit together quietly but because of the depth of relationship over many years it is a comfortable silence. I have just spent half an hour talking to my 2 3/4 year old grand daughter in Australia. It is a delight to me that she asked her Daddy to ring me as she wanted to tell me something. She understands the importance of talking to each other even though we are at the other side of the world, she just about to have a bath and go to bed, and me just about to have a shower, breakfast and start my day, Roisin in the sunshine and me in the dark morning. We have a developing relationship where little things are shared as well as big things and for a while we are focussed on each other. I sometimes wonder if we make too much of prayer, make it sound difficult or 'occasional' when actually we can practice the presence of Jesus all the time, our unseen friend forever.

  • Roger Hall | Friday, 07 December 2018

    Great study. This country is in turmoil. The onus on us is to keep our nerve and pray for opportunities to sound the trumpet. The wake up call must be heard. Solomon's prayer is a model for all of us. I wondered why my preparations for Sunday sermon have not gelled yet. May have to change things. Now, when I refer to "this country." I mean the UK. Just because there's movement in Australia, of the Holy Spirit, in which we rejoice, that doesn't mean that He is not present here! For He is the true Global interplanetary God! By the way, you may like to see my imperfect but well- meaning virtual Advent Calendar! Advent Calendar 7 🎅 🎄 🎉 🎭 🌠 ☕ 🐾

  • Anthony Myerson | Friday, 07 December 2018

    I really enjoy the enthusiastic and accurate reading by this lady reader. She makes the passage come to life. Thank you

  • Rob Ruck | Friday, 07 December 2018

    Third day in a row - no WordLive in my inbox??????????

  • Jill Warren | Friday, 07 December 2018

    NOTE FROM SU - We're really sorry that the emails haven't been working for the last few days. The technical problem seems to be sorted now, so they should be back to normal tomorrow morning.

  • Jennifer Yohannes | Friday, 07 December 2018

    I've got Wordlive on my bar at the top so, I just have been clicking on that every day.

  • John Leckenby | Friday, 07 December 2018

    18 “But will God really dwell on earth with humans? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! " hallelujah for Emmanuel,God is with us. Or as John says "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us". How utterly amazing and wonderful and gracious. What a miracle we celebrate at Christmas! I can never appreciate how the Puritans tried to kill off Christmas in the 17th century. Thank goodness we can celebrate today,here and now!

  • John Leckenby | Friday, 07 December 2018

    18 “But will God really dwell on earth with humans? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! " hallelujah for Emmanuel,God is with us. Or as John says "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us". How utterly amazing and wonderful and gracious. What a miracle we celebrate at Christmas! I can never appreciate how the Puritans tried to kill off Christmas in the 17th century. Thank goodness we can celebrate today,here and now!

  • Eileen Smith | Friday, 07 December 2018

    Thank you Jill & the team for looking after us— your hard work in bringing Word Live to us is very much appreciated

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Friday, 07 December 2018

    JENNIFER I tried that yesterday and when I clicked on it this morning it was yesterday's reading! Thanks for all the comments today. I've got these words of his prayer highlighted (for you alone know the hearts of men). This reminds me of 1 Samuel where we read 'man looks at outward appearance, God looks at the heart. Also John 2 where Jesus 'knew what was in a man'. Sin is something we are born with and only God touches sin through redemption. Thankfully He holds no-one responsible for the heredity of sin and doesn't condemn anyone for it. We who enjoy a personal relationship with Jesus know He dealt with our sin once and for all (Heb 9:12) and the rest of our lives we live to nurture His heart living in us. Father may we enjoy your protection so as never neglect or suppress your heartbeat within our feeble frame, Amen.

  • Mark Adams | Friday, 07 December 2018

    #Bibleinayear

  • Oakley Bookworm | Friday, 07 December 2018

    ELLY thank you. That was my mistake. I'm hoping WL upgrade the site soon to make posting and editing more user friendly.

  • Jacquie Wright | Friday, 07 December 2018

    Thank you Thelma

  • Barbara Sabin | Friday, 07 December 2018

    I have received two e mails today. Thank you Word Live because like Gilvin I have found today through yesterday. Prayer is the Christian’s vital breath, The Christian’s native air; His watchword at the gates of death; He enters rest with prayer. Prayer changes things. God works through praying people. The prayer of a good person has a powerful effect James Ch 5 v 16. God gives His power to our prayers.. John Knox knelt to pray and the Queen feared his prayers more than she did all the armies of Scotland. John Wesley's prayers caused renewal in England.. Do we prayer for each other I am so grateful that Somebody prayed for me .......https://youtu.be/wsXREdINzR4

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