I am sure someone will be SURPRISED!
Hardly a paragon of Christian living!
And yet the man prayed.
In fact, the longest prayer in the Bible flowed from the lips of this man, a son of King David. The prayer at the dedication of the Temple. The “Temple of Solomon” it’s called yet today.
On that grand day, worship of God was extravagant!
“Also king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel that were assembled unto him before the ark, sacrificed sheep and oxen, which COULD NOT BE TOLD OR NUMBERED FOR MULTITUDE.” 2nd Chronicles 5:6
With musicians and singers (the whole allotment of them) and 120 priests sounding trumpets … “They lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD. So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God.” 2nd Chronicles 5:13-14
Then, after reviewing a section of Israel’s history, Solomon began to pray: “And he stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands … and said, O LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee in the heaven, nor in the earth; which keepest covenant, and shewest mercy unto thy servants, that walk before thee with all their hearts.” The prayer obviously begins with praise, adoration! Here beginning with 2nd Chronicles 6:12.
We shall study this prayer for several days, I think.
Here’s the first request lodged with God. Merely asking God to fulfill His Word! (A God Who has never failed to do so, according to Joshua! “And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.” Joshua 23:14)
Here’s that beginning: “O LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee in the heaven, nor in the earth; which keepest covenant, and shewest mercy unto thy servants, that walk before thee with all their hearts. Thou which hast kept with thy servant David my father that which thou hast promised him; and spakest with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thine hand, as it is this day. Now therefore, O LORD God of Israel, KEEP WITH THY SERVANT DAVID MY FATHER THAT WHICH THOU HAST PROMISED, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit upon the throne of Israel; yet so that thy children take heed to their way to walk in my law, as thou hast walked before me. Now then, O LORD God of Israel, LET THY WORD BE VERIFIED, which thou hast spoken unto thy servant David.” 2nd Chronicles 6:14-17
The Hebrew of the verb “be verified” is simply spelled “aman,” literally! It means: let Thy Word be “faithful, true, made sure, stand fast, continued!”
That’s great praying!
Reminding God of His Promises!
Praying God’s revealed Will! Something you already KNOW is going to occur! For example, in Ezekiel 36 God told the Jews His great plans for their future … then said, “I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock.” In essence, “I promise this, but I still would have you pray for it,” Ezekiel 36:37, what a seminal verse!
Solomon is “on track!”
But, wait a minute. There are dozens of prayers in the Bible asking God to “keep His Word.” Why include the (at best questionable) Solomon as an example?
Because he, as King, is here praying for his whole Nation!
He is praying in the presence of all Israel!
This is congregational prayer, group prayer, corporate prayer!
Verse 12 (2nd Chronicles 6) told us, just before the prayer began: “And he (Solomon) stood before the altar of the Lord IN THE PRESENCE OF ALL THE CONGREGATION OF ISRAEL, and spread forth his hands ….” And prayed for quite a while, with thousands upon thousands listening!
Oh … let me include one more element of his prayer today. “But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built! Have respect therefore to the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O LORD my God, to hearken unto the cry and the prayer which thy servant prayeth before thee: that thine eyes may be open upon this house day and night, upon the place whereof thou hast said that thou wouldest put thy name there; to hearken unto the prayer which thy servant prayeth toward this place. Hearken therefore unto the supplications of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, which they shall make toward this place: hear thou from thy dwelling place, even from heaven; AND WHEN THOU HEAREST, FORGIVE.” 2nd Chronicles 6:18-21, ASKING FOR NATIONAL FORGIVENESS
Both individually … “if a man sin against his neighbor” … and as a Nation … “if thy people Israel be put to the worse before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee; and shall return and confess thy name, and pray and make supplication before thee in this house; then hear thou from the heavens, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel” … quite amazing! 2nd Chronicles 6:22 and 24-25.
Confession of sin, potential sin anyway!
This is good praying!
And here in public!
Gathered as a Nation!
Wish America could see such days, once again!
The Lord willing, more Solomonic praying tomorrow morning.
— Dr. Mike Bagwell