All who give attention to prayer make an effort to grow in the practice of prayer. One area that I personally need to grow in is the expression of praise. I am convicted that if we consider the presence and majesty of God, then praise becomes more natural. Often I fall quickly into a long list of requests. While requesting of God is a part of prayer, the practice of praise should not be neglected.
When King Solomon dedicated the temple he gave some instruction to the people that I think will help us to grow in giving attention to praise. The temple was the physical manifestation of the presence and power of God. As a great celebration was held to bring it to completion, Solomon offered these thoughts about worship and prayer that relate to praise.
Praise God who keeps his covenant of love! “Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way. ” (1 Kings 8:23)
Worship the God who Hears our Prayers! “May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. Hear the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive.”(1 Kings 8:29-30)
Entreat the God of Justice who sets things right! “Judge between your servants, condemning the guilty by bringing down on their heads what they have done, and vindicating the innocent by treating them in accordance with their innocence.” (1 Kings 8:32)
Return to the God who Forgives “When your people Israel have been defeated by an enemy because they have sinned against you, and when they turn back to you and give praise to your name, praying and making supplication to you in this temple, then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your people Israel “(1 Kings 8:33-34)
Scripture records that, “When Solomon had finished all these prayers and supplications to the Lord, he rose from before the altar of the Lord, where he had been kneeling with his hands spread out toward heaven. He stood and blessed the whole assembly of Israel in a loud voice, saying: “Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses. … May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in obedience to him and keep the commands, decrees and laws he gave our ancestors….so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other. And may your hearts be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands, as at this time.” (1 Kings 8:51-64)
I pray that these reflections on the awesome presence of God may fuel prayers of praise for all of us.
Thanks for reading, JD
For further reflection…