photo credit: king David Israel <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/37017545@N03/3573882493″>JERUSALEM.</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Solomon had his first major encounter with God.
“In that night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, ‘Ask what I shall give you.’
Solomon said to God, ‘You have dealt with my father David with great lovingkindness, and have made me king in his place. Now, O Lord God, Your promise to my father David is fulfilled, for You have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth. Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people, for who can rule this great people of Yours?’ God said to Solomon, ‘Because you had this in mind, and did not ask for riches, wealth or honor, or the life of those who hate you, nor have you even asked for long life, but you have asked for yourself wisdom and knowledge that you may rule My people over whom I have made you king, God said to Solomon, “Because you had this in mind, and did not ask for riches, wealth or honor, or the life of those who hate you, nor have you even asked for long life, but you have asked for yourself wisdom and knowledge that you may rule My people over whom I have made you king, wisdom and knowledge have been granted to you. And I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings who were before you has possessed nor those who will come after you (2 Chronicles 1:1-12 NASB).”
The 2nd time around…
“Now it came about when Solomon had finished building the house of the Lord, and the king’s house, and all that Solomon desired to do, that the Lord appeared to Solomon a second time, as He had appeared to him at Gibeon. The Lord said to him, ‘I have heard your prayer and your supplication, which you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built by putting My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. As for you, if you will walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you and will keep My statutes and My ordinances, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever, just as I promised to your father David, saying, You shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’
‘But if you or your sons indeed turn away from following Me, and do not keep My commandments and My statutes which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land which I have given them, and the house which I have consecrated for My name, I will cast out of My sight. So Israel will become a proverb and a byword among all peoples. And this house will become a heap of ruins; everyone who passes by will be astonished and hiss and say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land and to this house?’ And they will say, ‘Because they forsook the Lord their God, who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and adopted other gods and worshiped them and served them, therefore the Lord has brought all this adversity on them (1 Kings 9:1-9 NASB).”
You feel a sense of grief, a heavy heart; yet, you are not suffering the loss of a loved one.
It is a persistent burden over a personal problem or a sense of real need in the life of someone else. Maybe you have the condition of your church, city, state, nation or world grieving you.
You might have a strong impression of someone come to mind during the day or even awake you from a sound sleep.
It is a call to prayer.
Walk with me through scriptures.
He cried out for Sodom.
“Then the Lord said, ‘The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is immense, and their sin is extremely serious. I will go down to see if what they have done justifies the cry that has come up to Me. If not, I will find out.’
The men turned from there and went toward Sodom while Abraham remained standing before the Lord. Abraham stepped forward and said, ‘Will You really sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are 50 righteous people in the city? Will You really sweep it away instead of sparing the place for the sake of the 50 righteous people who are in it? You could not possibly do such a thing: to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. You could not possibly do that! Won’t the Judge of all the earth do what is just?’
The Lord said, ‘If I find 50 righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.’
Then Abraham answered, ‘Since I have ventured to speak to the Lord—even though I am dust and ashes— suppose the 50 righteous lack five. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?’
He replied, ‘I will not destroy it if I find 45 there.’
Then he spoke to Him again, ‘Suppose 40 are found there?’
He answered, ‘I will not do it on account of 40.’
Then he said, ‘Let the Lord not be angry, and I will speak further. Suppose 30 are found there?’
He answered, ‘I will not do it if I find 30 there.’
Then he said, ‘Since I have ventured to speak to the Lord, suppose 20 are found there?’
He replied, ‘I will not destroy it on account of 20.’
Then he said, ‘Let the Lord not be angry, and I will speak one more time. Suppose 10 are found there?’
He answered, ‘I will not destroy it on account of 10.’ When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, He departed, and Abraham returned to his place (Genesis 18:20-33 HCSB).”
The LORD finished the time of communing with Abraham.
Abraham witnessed God’s intervention.
“Early in the morning Abraham went to the place where he had stood before the Lord. He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and all the land of the plain, and he saw that smoke was going up from the land like the smoke of a furnace. So it was, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, He remembered Abraham and brought Lot out of the middle of the upheaval when He demolished the cities where Lot had lived (Genesis 19:27-29 HCSB).”
Concerned about the spiritual welfare of those you know? The LORD compels us to pray.
“As for me, I vow that I will not sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you. I will teach you the good and right way (1 Samuel 12:23 HCSB).”
Christ followers have a responsibility and privilege to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
“Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints (Ephesians 6:18 HCSB).”
Christ set the example. He interceded for us. (John Chapter 17)
He intercedes now.
“Who is the one who condemns?
Christ Jesus is the One who died,
but even more, has been raised;
He also is at the right hand of God
and intercedes for us (Romans 8:34 HCSB).”
“It’s raining, it’s pouring”….
The children’s nursery rhyme has a catchy tune!
Residents of South Texas were singing songs of woe when experiencing a severe drought. It could mean devastation to crops and loss of life in livestock herds. We watched weather broadcasts, searched the horizon and prayed for rain.
Elijah prayed; the LORD God sent rain pouring down upon parched land.
“He bowed down to the ground and put his face between his knees. Then he said to his servant, ‘Go up and look toward the sea.’ So he went up, looked, and said, ‘There’s nothing.’ Seven times Elijah said, ‘Go back.’ On the seventh time, he reported, ‘There’s a cloud as small as a man’s hand coming from the sea.’ Then Elijah said, ‘Go and tell Ahab, Get [your chariot] ready and go down so the rain doesn’t stop you.’ In a little while, the sky grew dark with clouds and wind, and there was a downpour (1 Kings 18:42b-45a HCS).”
God also heard the prayer requests of Texans. It rained and we rejoiced!
Funeral homes set aside specific calling hours for family and friends to pay their respects to the immediate family of the deceased. Calling hours offer structure in chaotic times. Yet, I am thankful to God for his invitation to call on him at any time.
“…. and his mother named him Jabez saying, ‘Because I bore him with pain.’ Now Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh that Thou wouldst bless me indeed, and enlarge my border, and that Thy hand might be with me, and that Thou wouldst keep me from harm, that it may not pain me! And God granted him what he requested (1 Chronicles 4:9b-10 NAS).” The prayer room is open!
Have you ever skinned your knuckles when involved in a building project? It is painful and may even leave scars as a reminder of a difficult job. Nobody wants to be a sissy, but skinned knuckles are hard to ignore.
Prayer is hard work. It is easy to mouth platitudes; cries for help and guidance take time, discipline and determination. We must never give up. God in his word instructs us to ask, search, and knock. “Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you (Acts 7:7 HCS).”
Sherlock Holmes asked murder suspects many questions. He searched for clues and knocked on doors of opportunity in solving unsolved crimes. His persistence matched his ability to unravel a mystery. Did he knock until he skinned his knuckles?
“Father, forgive me for whimpering when I skin my knuckles from repeatedly rapping on the door of prayer. Your will and timing is perfect. Give me perception to see a crack in the door and your hand upon the handle. It will swing wide open in the fullness of time.”