Please Hear Our Prayers (1 Kings 8:52) - May 5th 2013

    God entrusted Israel with the task of revealing spiritual truth, which would be given to the whole world. The revelation of the true God and the hope of salvation for humanity in Jesus Christ stand at the heart of God’s purpose for choosing a people. Even in the building of the great Temple, God reached beyond the Jews to include Gentiles in the work. Perhaps this is a symbol of their future spiritual union.

    Our study of King Solomon’s Dedicatory Prayer takes us into a prayer with parallels to “The Lord’s Prayer” (Matthew 6:9-13). This prayer for God’s work in the Temple recognizes the Temple as a place where people would come to pray and a place toward which people turned to recognize the presence of God. Solomon did not believe God would be confined to this sacred place (v. 27). The prayer addresses God’s care for His people, justice, mercy, repentance, forgiveness, foreigners and new beginnings. 

    Our study will focus on a word often repeated in this prayer, “hear.” We join people throughout history in our desire to know God hears prayer.

    May your eyes be open to your servant’s plea and to the plea of your people Israel, and may you listen to them whenever they cry out to you.                 v. 52

    We want God to see what we see.
    May your eyes be open to your servant’s plea and to the plea of your people…
    Solomon knew the people would not serve the Lord wholeheartedly (v. 23). They would soon face many different kinds of troubles. Solomon wanted the people to find God’s healing and help (v. 41). Like the Psalmist, he knew nothing was hidden from God.
    The eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.
             Psalm 33:18-22

    Luke addressed the same fear that God might not see people in trouble as he wrote of Jesus sleeping on the Sea of Galilee (Luke 8:22-25). 
    When life’s storms come, we want to know God sees “How Bad Things Are.”
    Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.                  Hebrews 4:13

    We want God to hear our cries.
    May you listen to them whenever they cry out to you.
    Solomon’s prayer repeatedly asks God to “hear.” You can almost hear the Psalmist say, Listen to my cry for help (Psalm 5:2).
    …when a prayer or plea is made by any of your people Israel—each one aware of the afflictions of his own heart, and spreading out his hands toward this temple—then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive and act; deal with each man according to all he does, since you know his heart.                             vv. 38-39
    What is the plague/affliction of your heart?
    When praying about our pain sometimes we hinder our prayers with our attitudes and actions. Note the following issues which can disrupt our prayers. 
    Heart sins (Psalm 66:18; Isaiah 59:2)                Marital issues (1 Peter 3:7)
    Disobedience (Proverbs 28:9)       Hypocrisy & insincerity ( Isaiah 29:13)
    Wrong motives (Matthew 6:5–6; Luke 18:11–14; James 4:3),
    Lack of faith (Hebrews 11:6; James 1:6)     
    Nothing has a right to have a place in our desires if it should not have its proper place in our prayers. 
    Solomon knew there is no one who does not sin (v. 46).

    How can we get God to listen to us?    
    Solomon’s prayer repeatedly called for people to: (1) Recognize personal sins. (2) Admit sin/rebellion. (3) Turn away from sin. (4) Turn to God.
    Our prayers should put our hearts right with God. The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry.         Psalm 34:14
    With hearts tuned to God we can pray, Hear my voice in accordance with your love…                                                                               Psalm 119:149
    In prayer we open ourselves up to God in an effort to open up a God-space in our souls to find God working in ways we hadn’t realized possible.
    I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.                             Ephesians 1: 18-19

    The Bible translation used is the New International Version.