Forty Days of Prayer March 16
There are many famous prayers of scripture and one of the most famous is the prayer of Solomon at the dedication of the Temple. This is a long prayer that covers about 30 verses in 1 Kings 8:23-53. Today I would like to highlight one of these verses.
Hear the supplication 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. (1 Kings 8:30)
In this verse Solomon is asking that God hear his prayers but also all of the people. What we find unusual in our 21st century ears is the fact that people pray towards the Temple. It was the practice of the people of the Old Testament to pray towards Jerusalem and the Temple. Daniel did that in 6:10 when he broke the law and prayed to someone other than the King. He prayed out the windows that faced toward Jerusalem. The verse acknowledges that heaven is God’s dwelling place yet people pray towards the Temple. Why? The Temple brought people many things they needed from God. It brought God’s presence to a place that He promised to be. Faith, is believing in something we do not see. Still all of us like to see something concrete and tangible. Buildings make a statement and the Temple and Churches make a statement about God. They speak of the grace and faithfulness of God to every one who goes by them today. Even the small stone that Jacob set up at Bethel was a reminder of God coming to speak to him in a very unique and powerful way. Churches and the Temple in particular are meant to be houses of prayer, and that is why Jesus was upset when it was being changed into something else. So he drove the money changers out of the Temple to restore it to it’s original purpose.
The other thing Solomon asks for in this verse is forgiveness. That was the other major function of the Temple. It was to be a place where the sacrifices were made for the sins of the people so that they might have forgiveness. God wanted them to know and experience forgiveness. During this season of Lent our prayers are directed a little out of the town of Jerusalem to Calvary, a hillside used by the Romans for crucifixions. When I ask for forgiveness I always look to the cross and ask in Jesus name and by His grace. That is even a better concrete way to know we have the forgiveness of God.
In Christ’s Service, Pastor Dave
Heavenly Father, we thank you today for another day. Thank you for hearing our prayers and teaching us to pray. Thank you that You have given Your forgiveness in no uncertain terms in the death of Your Son upon the cross for us. Amen.