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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 209

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Solomon continued...

1 Kings 3:10, “And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.”

The Lord can be pleased, but He can also be displeased by what we ask of Him. Our requests, petitions and prayers can bring joy to His heart, or cause His heart to grow weary. It all depends upon what we ask of Him, and whether or not it shows the requisite maturity God has come to expect of His children.

God has invested wisdom, God has invested knowledge, He has invested His Spirit and His will in our lives, and He wants to see the transformation in our thinking and our actions because of this. God does not invest in us hoping we remain the same, perpetually childish, perpetually unthankful, and perpetually distracted by the things of this world. When God pours into us, it is with the singular purpose of transforming us into an image pleasing in His sight.

Anyone who’s had children knows that one of the greatest joys of parenthood is seeing one’s offspring go through the stages of development, becoming wiser, more mature, and more self-sufficient with each subsequent stage. In short, parents love to see their children grow up.

When we are infants we are wholly dependent upon our parents for survival. As we grow, we begin to fend for ourselves, growing more self-reliant with time, until we are finally on our own earning our own way.

Our spiritual wellbeing is dependent and predicated upon continued growth and maturity. If we remain in a state of infancy, then we can never hope to be the warriors God grooms His children to become. If our prayers continue to be self-centered and vain, they will never please the Lord, nor bring joy to His heart.

1 Kings 3:11-12, “Then God said to him: ‘Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you.’”

Of all the things Solomon could have asked for, of all the things he could have requested of God, things which would have profited and benefited him, he asked for something that would profit and benefit the people of God instead.

Due to the fact that Solomon did not put himself first, God answered his prayer, and gave him a wise and understanding heart to the extent that there had not been anyone like him before, nor would any like him arise after.

What would you ask God for if you were given this once in a lifetime opportunity?

What would you request of the Lord if He came to you in a dream and said, ‘Ask! What shall I give you?’ Would your request be as selfless as Solomon’s? Would you ask for something that would benefit the people of God rather than yourself?

Each of us must come to the place of self-denial in our walk as Solomon did. It is in selflessness that love for others can thrive, and grow, and produce much fruit for the kingdom of God. It is in selflessness that we are able to devote our time, our effort and our resources toward doing good and making an impact in a world which is becoming increasingly hedonistic with each passing day.

If selfishness still has a place in our hearts, we will always find a reason or excuse not to reach out or stand in the gap. If selfishness has not been thoroughly exterminated, we will always find a way of justifying inaction, and even if we manage to go and do what God has commanded us to do, we do it halfheartedly, attempting to find the easiest route to obedience rather than the most fulfilling.

It is when we grasp the true value of wisdom, understanding, discernment, and other intangibles only God can grant us that we begin to desire them. If I do not value wisdom, I will not ask God for wisdom. If I do not value understanding, I will not ask God for understanding.

When the offer is made, and we are able to ask for anything, we will ask for what we perceive as having the greatest value.

If our minds are renewed, and our hearts beat for Christ alone, we will know the true worth of more of Him in our lives, and because we know, it will be the thing we ask for. If we live for His glory, then we will ask for the necessary virtues wherein we can bring glory to His name. Yes, it all comes back to the heart, and to whom our heart truly belongs.

1 Kings 3:13, “And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days.”

Because he was selfless in his request and because his request pleased the Lord, the Lord also gave Solomon certain things He didn’t ask for.

The lesson in Solomon’s prayer is as simple as it is profound. It is a lesson echoed by Christ Jesus Himself when he admonished us to ‘seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,’ and when we are faithful in this, everything else will be added on.

There are issues of paramount importance in our life, as well as issues which are peripherally important. To our detriment we often confuse and interchange the two, and seek after the peripherally important things, while neglecting those of paramount importance.

Even before God granted him wisdom and understanding Solomon was wise enough to know the difference between the two, and having realized the incalculable value of a wise and understanding heart, it is the one thing he asked of the Lord.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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