As soon as Solomon finished praying and making these requests to the Lord, he got up from before the Lord’s altar, where he had been kneeling with his hands spread out to heaven. He stood up and blessed the whole Israelite assembly in a loud voice:
“May the Lord be blessed! He has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. He hasn’t neglected any part of the good promise he made through his servant Moses.
May the Lord our God be with us, just as he was with our ancestors.
May he never leave us or abandon us.
May he draw our hearts to him to walk in all his ways and observe his commands, his laws, and his judgments that he gave our ancestors.
And may these words of mine that I have cried out before the Lord remain near to the Lord our God day and night so that he may do right by his servant and his people Israel for each day’s need, and so that all the earth’s peoples may know that the Lord is God.
There is no other God! Now may you be committed to the Lord our God with all your heart by following his laws and observing his commands, just as you are doing right now.”
Then the king and all Israel with him sacrificed to the Lord. Solomon offered well-being sacrifices to the Lord: twenty-two thousand oxen and one hundred twenty thousand sheep when the king and all Israel dedicated the Lord’s temple.
On that day the king made holy the middle of the courtyard in front of the Lord’s temple. He had to offer the entirely burned offerings, grain offerings, and the fat of well-being sacrifices there, because the bronze altar that was in the Lord’s presence was too small to contain the entirely burned offerings, the grain offerings, and the fat of the well-being sacrifices.
At that time Solomon, together with all Israel, held a celebration. It was a large assembly from Lebo-hamath to the border of Egypt. They celebrated for seven days and then for another seven days in the presence of the Lord our God: fourteen days in all. (Common English Bible)
Prayer is arguably one of the most significant works a spiritual person could ever do.
Why do I say that?
Because we, as people (especially Americans!) tend to be focused on solutions, fixes, and getting things done. We work hard; and if it doesn’t work out, then we pray.
Yet prayer is a needed activity from the get-go. Prayer is to be infused from the beginning to the end. Prayer is to be our very breath.
Relying solely on our strength, smarts, and stamina – on self – may yield some results; but the human touch cannot provide like the divine touch. Trusting in all else, besides God, shall eventually fail.
Now this I know:
The Lord gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
with the victorious power of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm. (Psalm 20:6-8, NIV)
King Solomon prayed. He prayed before building a temple to the Lord. He prayed during construction. He offered prayers after its erection and provided prayers of dedication to it.
And, in today’s Old Testament lesson, Solomon was faithful to pray and bless the people who participated in the building, as well as all the people who would worship at the temple.
Biblical prayers are solid theological models for us in our own prayers. They give us some needed form and function, directing us in how to pray and what the content of those prayers ought to be.
So, I offer this prayer of blessing for you, based in Solomon’s to the people:
Blessed be the Lord our God, who has given peace to people, just as he said he’d do. Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Not a one of all those good and wonderful promises that God spoke has failed.
May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our very own God, continue to be with us just as he was with all of our spiritual ancestors.
May God never give up and walk out on us.
May God keep us Christo-centric, revolving our entire lives around him, devoted to him, following the life path he has cleared, being attentive to the words and ways of Jesus, walking at the pace and the rhythms he laid down for us to follow and observe.
May these words that I pray in the presence of God be always before the divine throne, day and night, so that the Lord will do what is right, just, and fair for us and for all people everywhere.
May mercy and justice reign day after day after day. Then all the people on earth will know God is the true God; there is no other God.
And may your lives be totally obedient to God, following the path of righteousness the Lord has cleared, alert and attentive to avoid the path of temptation, through Jesus Christ our Lord, in the strength of the Holy Spirit. Amen.