Let us pray: Dear Savior, when we’re honest in our prayers to You we reveal what’s really important to us and what’s really on our minds. Today, hold up those snapshots to us. And then enlarge our vision and our prayer life so that we can expand our horizons for the glory of Your holy Name. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, WHO LOVES TO HEAR US PRAY!
TEXT: I Kings 3: 5-12
Fellow Redeemed Sinners:
Someone once wrote that: “the eyes are the windows to the soul.” That certainly sounds rather romantic—especially when it is said to that special someone whom you love. But, is it true? No! I hate to disappoint anyone, but people are really, really good at hiding their thoughts behind a quiet demeanor. I’m sure more than one serial killer had a soft look for his parents and another for his victims.
So, what is a truthful barometer of a person’s soul? Well, the only Person who can read hearts is God. And mind you, He’s 100% accurate. The only other person who can read your soul is you. Put those two together and you’ll soon discover that:
YOUR PRAYERS ARE A WINDOW INTO YOUR SOUL
Today’s Old Testament lesson is marvelous! It provides us with a delightful snapshot of Solomon’s inner heart as he assumes the kingship over Israel after the death of his father, David. As Solomon honestly states in his prayer to God: “I’m only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties.” Humanly speaking, Solomon was in his late teens or early twenties. Like all young men, he had raging hormones, the gift of physical health, and he was also very wealthy. The world lay at his feet. And because of all this, the temptation to “live it up” to “party hardy” and to take every advantage of his situation was great. And yet, Solomon was also a Christian. He believed in God, the God of Israel, the God Who had promised, through Solomon’s line, to send His Son into the world to save souls with His blood and His life. Those thoughts are all on Solomon’s mind when God comes to him at Gibeon and whispers: “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
The youthful faith of this young King is evident in his answer. And his prayer gives evidence of his soul and the condition of his heart. First, Solomon is humble. Note that he says: “you have made your servant king in the place of my father David.” He gives God all the glory for his office. Next we see that he is caring toward others. He is especially concerned about the people he is to govern and their welfare and how he is to provide for them. And finally, we see that Solomon had his priorities straight. He asks for a wise, discerning heart to properly govern both for the benefit of others and for the glory of God. In all this, Solomon is really “Christ-like” isn’t he? For Christ always prayed for us first and Himself second.
God is obviously pleased with all this. “Since you have and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have you asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.”
God kept His end of this bargain. Solomon lived long and governed well. That’s because God never changes and always keeps His word. Too bad the same can not be said of Solomon! For as the years went by, this faithful young man changed. He began to give into more and more temptations. He took countless wives and looked the other way when they introduced their heathen gods into his country. His family life became tumultuous and his children unmanageable. Yes, over time this young man forgot that God must always come first in order for blessings to abound.
The prayers of every Christian, be they young or old, are really a snapshot into their own soul. And if we look at our individual prayer life and the content of our prayers, we see that over the years they change a bit, don’t they? All children desire safety and stability in life. It’s the only way they can grow and flourish. So, they pray accordingly—for mom and dad and for the safety of their loved ones. Teens tend to be full of themselves. They think they are immortal. They take stupid chances because of this. And because they are unduly influenced by current culture, they pray for an idealized love life, a great job that pays a lot in which they really don’t have to work hard, and social status. Once someone is married, their prayer life changes a bit and once they have a family, it changes even more–More people to pray for, more responsibilities to handle, more stress to overcome. With middle-age comes prayers for health and the ability to deal with aches and pains. With old age comes prayers for patience in dealing with a host of life’s troubles—not only your own, but extended family and friends, as well.
That being said, do you pray more for “things” than for spiritual gifts? Do you pray more for yourself than others? Do you put personal wants/needs above God’s glory? How often do you pray about a specific temptation and ask for God’s power to handle it, not just for your own benefit but for the benefit of all those around you, too? What we see in our lesson is that young Solomon doesn’t have blinders. By God’s grace he’s shed a narrow, introspective view of his life and sees his place on the eternal stage. And so he prays accordingly. He asks for a gift that will benefit others more than himself, but in the process will help make him a success—before men and before God.
Every single Christian prays. It is as natural to us as breathing. Almost every Christian thinks that the more they pray and engage in repetitious prayers, the better. We tend to forget Christ’s words in Matthew 6:7: “When you pray, don’t use vain repetitions, as the heathen do, for they think that they shall be heard for their continuous speaking.” But few Christians put careful thought behind their prayers and use them in a way that enlarges their whole life and not just placates momentary emotional upheaval.
This week as you pray, think about Solomon and his great prayer of faith and respect for God Almighty. Seek to emulate him. And then also think of Jesus Christ and how He prayed for you. Gaze into Christ’s very soul by pondering His words in Gethsemane: “yet not My will, but Yours be done!” Jesus prayed those words shortly before He went to cross to die for you and me. And He only prayed them once. But once was enough! And that one time prayer revealed His total allegiance and dependence upon His heavenly Father’s will.
Your prayers are a snapshot into your soul. Examine the content of your prayers and you’ll soon see who and what you really are. And then learn from that self-examination and recalibrate your prayers to ask God to turn you into something even more special! And you know what? For Christ’s sake, He will! “For the prayer of a righteous man avails much.” Amen