Thursday, December 9, 2010

Solomon's Prayer

I wanted to share some of my Matthew Henry reading, on 1 Kings 8, from yesterday. Long time followers will know that prayer is a subject that I find especially interesting, and that I've talked about quite a bit on here. I thought this section would also be helpful ~

"The prayer itself was very long, and perhaps much longer than is here recorded. At the throne of grace we have liberty of speech, and should use our liberty. It is not making long prayers, but making them for a pretence, that Christ condemns. In this excellent prayer Solomon does, as we should in every prayer,

Give glory to God. This he begins with, as the most proper act of adoration. He addresses himself to God as the Lord God of Israel, a God in covenant with them...He gives him thanks for what he had done, in particular, for his family..."Thou hast kept with thy servant David, as with thy other servants, that which thou promisedst him." The promise was a great favour to him, his support and joy, and now performance is the crown of it: Thou hast fulfilled it, as it is this day. Fresh experiences of the truth of God's promises call for enlarged praises.

He sues for grace and favour from God.
That God would perform to him and his the mercy which he had promised. The experiences we have had of God's performing his promises should encourage us to depend upon them and plead them with God: and those who expect further mercies must be thankful for former mercies. Hitherto God has helped.

That God would have respect to this temple which he had now taken possession of, and that his eyes might be continually open towards it, that he would graciously own it, and so put an honour upon it...When we have done the most we can for God we must acknowledge the infinite distance and disproportion between us and him, between our services and his perfections.

This premised, he prays in general, First, That God would graciously hear and answer the prayer he was now praying. It was a humble prayer (the prayer of thy servant), an earnest prayer (such a prayer as is a cry), a prayer made in faith (before thee, as the Lord, and my God): "Lord, hearken to it, have respect to it, not as the prayer of Israel's king (no man's dignity in the world, or titles of honour, will recommend him to God), but as the prayer of thy servant." Secondly, That God would in like manner hear and answer all the prayers that should, at any time hereafter, be made in or towards this house which he had now built, and of which God had said, My name shall be there, his own prayers (Hearken to the prayers which thy servant shall make), and the prayers of all Israel, and of every particular Israelite: "Hear it in heaven, that is indeed thy dwelling-place, of which this is but a figure; and, when thou hearest, forgive the sin that separates between them and God....

If any man of Israel has an errand to thee, here let him find thee, here let him find favor with thee." He does not mention particulars, so numerous, so various, are the grievances of the children of men. He supposes that the complainants themselves would very sensibly feel their own burden, and would open that case to God which otherwise they kept to themselves and did not make any man acquainted with: They shall know every man the plague of his own heart, what it is that pains him, and (as we say) where the shoe pinches, and shall spread their hands, that is, spread their case, as Hezekiah spread the letter, in prayer, towards this house; whether the trouble be of body or mind, they shall represent it before God. Inward burdens seem especially meant.....

Lastly, After all these particulars, he concludes with this general request, that God would hearken to all his praying people in all that they call unto him for. No place now, under the gospel, can be imagined to add any acceptableness to the prayers made in or towards it, as the temple then did. That was a shadow: the substance is Christ; whatever we ask in his name, it shall be given us."

~ Matthew Henry

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"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
Isaiah 55:6,8-1