Monday, October 10, 2016

1 Kings 8:22-30 Solomon's 4-P's Prayer

KEY TEXT: 1 Kings 8:22-23 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven, and said, "O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart…”

KEY THOT: Solomon’s prayer is a good model for our own prayer. The obvious characteristics of his prayer is that it is God-centred, not me-centred. He uses the pronoun “you” and “your” more than 20 times in the first 9 verses of his prayer. Like the Lord’s Prayer, the first part is focused on "Your name", “Your will” and "Your kingdom": “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is heaven.” The prayer that gets God’s hearing is one that is God-focused rather than self-focused. Let’s see how Solomon prayed His God-centred prayer in terms of 4 P's:
  • Posture (v.22): Solomon stood before the altar and “spread out his hands towards heaven.” His body language reveals his attitude: his outstretched arms point to the God of heaven whom He is directing His prayer. Paul gives the same instruction for those who engage in public prayer: “I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands…” (1 Timothy 2:8). There is nothing “charismatic” about lifting up our hands in worship and intercession – it is an ancient posture of prayer that helps us remember to whom we are praying. Prayer is not for people's ears, but for God's ears alone.
  • Praise (v.23-24): Solomon begins his prayer by praising the Lord God of Israel as the one-of-its-kind God, for “there is no one like You.” What sets God apart from other gods is that He is One who is “keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants” (v.23). When we start off our prayer by praising God, we lift our spirits up as we focus on how great God is. The bigger God is in our eyes, the greater our faith grows and the smaller our problem becomes when we come to petitioning God to hear us.
  • Promise (v.25-26): Then Solomon reminded God of his promise made to his father David: “O Lord God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father what you have promised him” (v.25). The basis of our prayer is not our desire but the promise of God. Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:20 writes: “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him (Christ).” So we know that when we pray in Christ's name according to God’s promises made in His word, His answer will always be "Yes!" But if our prayer is just an utterance of our selfish desires, there is no promise for such prayers. Solomon pointed to God’s promise as revealed in His word: “Now therefore, O God of Israel, let your word be confirmed, which you have spoken to your servant David my father” (v.26). So, the more we know God's promises as found in his word, the more effective our praying becomes.
  • Petition (v.27-30): So Solomon concludes his prayer with his petition and plea for God to hear and to forgive the sins of those who pray to Him: “And listen to the plea of your servant and of your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. And listen in heaven your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive” (v.30). And then he went on to present his petitions before God from verses 31-53.
Solomon’s 4-P prayer is a simple model of a God-centred prayer. It has four basic components of posture, praise, promise and petition. Posture and praise could often be incorporated in the songs of praise we sing so that our hearts may be set right before God. Petitions following our songs of praise should focus on God's promises made to us in Christ. When we hold up His promises as we pray, we have the faith and assurance from God that He will hear us. Indeed, all his promises He has made in His word are now “yes” in Christ, so that it may resound with our loud “amens!”

Father, help us offer prayers that are God-centred that You might be glorified when You answer. Thank You that all Your promises made in Your Word are always yes and amen in Christ. Amen.

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