Lectio: Read today’s passage through once. Then spend some time praying and asking God to show you what you need to pay attention to in the text. Read it again. Now ask God to help you see what this text, and the part that has stood out, may mean for you. Don’t expect to get a clear word every time but always be ready to really hear from God through His Word.
For more help use this Bible Study method
Then Hear From Heaven, Your Dwelling Place
by Tom Richards
Today we read a portion of King Solomon’s “Prayer of Dedication” for the Temple, which he built in obedience to God’s command. Solomon offered this prayer “before the altar of the Lord in front of the whole assembly of Israel” (1 Kings 8:22).
As I read and re-read this passage, I noticed a consistent request in each paragraph. Solomon asks God to “hear from heaven” (see verses 36, 39, 43, 45, 49) the prayers of his people. Solomon outlines different challenges that the Israelites might face which will result in the need for prayer:
Verses 35 - 36 = weather – “there is no rain”
Verses 37 – 40 = famine, plague, blight, mildew, locusts, grasshoppers, an enemy
Verses 41 – 43 = instruction for foreigners
Verses 44 – 45 = war
Verses 46 -51 = sin and resulting captivity
It is interesting to note that this prayer was offered to God in front of the whole assembly of Israel. I am guessing that Solomon was not only asking God to be faithful in hearing the prayers of his people, but also emphasizing to the people the essential need for prayer!
As I listed the challenges that Solomon identified there were some that struck pretty close to home. To name a few, how about weather (Hurricane Ida), plague (COVID 19), and war (Afghanistan)? This caused me to ask myself, do I really pray about these things? Solomon asks God to “hear from heaven”, but how can God hear if I am not praying? Do I really take these things to God in prayer, not just for myself and my family, but for fellow believers, my community, my nation, and the world? If I am not doing this, who is? Please ask yourself this question as we look at Solomon’s advice about dealing with adversity and sin. I am guessing most of us could do better…
Father, forgive us for our selfishness, for our tunnel vision, and for often looking at prayer as a “last resort”. Help us to grow in our prayer lives and trust that you will “hear from heaven”. Amen