Bible text: 1 Kings 8:22-40
Verse 27-28a; But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee, how much less this house that I have builded? Yet have thou respect unto the prayer of thy servant and to his supplication…
Solomon drew a parallel between man and God. He humbled himself to show that even though he had constructed this great temple, he didn’t really expect that God in his majesty can be confined into the crevices of this room. He understood the greatness of God and magnified him as such. It is our duty to exalt the name of the lord and magnify him before the heathen. We don’t need to belittle our God by taking him for granted and handling his name shabbily and flippantly. He is the great God who exist by himself, so grand that even the heaven of heavens is not large enough to contain him. Solomon acknowledged this yet also acknowledged that God despite his grandiose nature still bothers with little him and would still hearken to his prayer and so in faith he prayed.
And what did he pray for? He prayed not for silver and gold. He prayed instead for God’s presence to remain upon the temple so that when him and his people pray, God will hear and act. That God would forgive the repentant sinner and repent over his harsh judgement on Israel when they cry out for forgiveness. He looked beyond now and prayed for the future of Israel. For God’s deliverance when they are being smitten by their enemies or a carried away into captivity. This is why Israel could pray in faraway Babylon facing the direction of the temple. God is limitless. He knows what to do yet he wants to hear us expressing our thoughts towards him. Our prayer shows our understanding of God and his power and most importantly our faith in him. We must learn from Solomon’s prayer that our petition should not end with our basic every day needs and challenges but should expand to contain requests for a change in our communal lives and correction of the ills going on in our society. The corrupt practices in public offices which continues to impoverish the country should be brought to God in prayer. God honours the prayer of the righteous. He will surely hear from heaven and heal our land.
May God grant us grace to humbly set ourselves before His mighty hand and not to limit him when we pray but have the confidence that our prayers can change even the course of our nations through Christ Jesus. Amen