Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Thy God hath sent forth strength for thee.”
Psalm 68: 28
Prayer Book Version
“I am tired, Lord: let me furl my sail,
I hear through the mists how the sad waves wail,
My heart is quailing, and sick with fear,
Ask me no more on Your course to steer.
Child take this word again for Me;
As thy days, so shall thy strength be.”
The Twilight Hour
Today’s Study Text:
“It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. God said to him, ‘Because you have asked this and have not asked for long life or for riches, nor for the lives of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to recognize what is just and right, behold, I have done as you asked. I have given you a wise, discerning mind, so that no one before you was your equal, nor shall any arise after you equal to you. I have also given you what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that there shall not be any among the kings equal to you all your days. And if you will go My way, keep My statutes and My commandments as your father David did, then I will lengthen your days.’”
1 Kings 3: 10-14
“It Pleased God”
“My heaven is to please God and glorify Him and to give all to Him, and to be wholly devoted to His glory; that is the heaven I long for.”
U.S. Evangelist to
North American Native Americans
How do I think I can “please” God?
What was it that Solomon requested which pleased God so much?
“Give me grace ever to desire and to will what is most acceptable to Thee and most pleasing in Thy sight.”
Thomas á Kempis
“A soul can do nothing that is more pleasing to God than to communicate in a state of grace.”
How would you feel if at the end of your prayers today, God said to you, “(your name), your request pleases me? I’m thrilled by what you asked Me to do for you.” How would it make you feel to have your heavenly Father give you this kind of affirmation? I know I’d be jumping for joy, just to think that my special communication with my Father gave Him pleasure.
The fact is, this is the response Solomon received after asking for wisdom and understanding from his Father in heaven. God was so thrilled by Solomon’s request, and his expression of what he longed for, that God not only gave Solomon what he asked for, but indeed, all that he didn’t express a verbal desire for as well.
The response by God to Solomon’s petition lays out for you and me four enlightening points about prayer which Dale Ralph Davis uncovers in his insightful volume on the book of 1 Kings.
Prayer Point #1: When we pray, we bring our requests to a generous God. I love the words I’ve shared with you before by the great English pastor, Charles Haddon Spurgeon: “When we pray, we are standing in the palace, on the glittering floor of the great King’s own reception room…shall we come there with stunted requests and narrow, contracted faith? He is a King who distributes pieces of broad gold…do not bring before God stinted petitions and narrow desires, but remember, as high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are His ways above your ways…Ask, therefore, after a Godlike fashion, for great things, for you are before a great throne.” All I can say to this is, “Praise God!” So often when I come to my Father, I don’t remember the words of the Apostle Paul, “Now to Him who, by the action of His power that is at work within us, is able to carry out His purpose and do superabundantly far over and above all that we dare ask or think (infinitely) beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams” (Ephesians 3: 20, Amplified Bible). All I can say to this is “WOW!” We must never forget our Father is able to do “super-abundantly” for me and for you. So I ask, “Why should we ever treat our “Dad” as if His supply is limited or as if He doesn’t desire to pour out all the blessings of heaven on us from His infinite heart of generous love?”
Prayer Point #2: When we pray, we bring our requests to a faithful God. How I love the words of the prophet Jeremiah who recorded in Lamentations 3: 19-23, “O Lord remember earnestly my affliction and my misery, my wandering and my outcast state, the wormwood and the gall. My soul has them continually in remembrance and is bowed down within me. But this I recall and therefore have I hope and expectation: It is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His tender compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3: 19-23, Amplified Bible). As the Psalmist David shared with his heavenly Father, “Your mercy and loving-kindness, O Lord, extend to the skies, and Your faithfulness to the clouds” (Psalm 36: 5, Amplified Bible). We pray to a faithful God.
In the words of the North American teacher, journalist and hymn-writer, Thomas Obadiah Chisholm:
“Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father.
There is no shadow of turning with Thee:
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not.
As Thou hast been, Thou for ever wilt be.”
Prayer Point #3: When we pray we bring our requests to a God who cares about the people we care about. It took me quite awhile to really grasp the true power of intercessory prayer. At the end of the book of Job, we are told that, “The Lord turned the captivity of Job and restored his fortunes when he prayed for his friends” (Job 42: 10, Amplified Bible). The outpouring of prayer regarding the needs of others has a blossoming affect on our own hearts, as we are filled with the fragrance of our Father’s unselfish love. Particularly in Solomon’s prayer, we find that his desire for wisdom and understanding was not so that he could use these powers to better himself, but instead, so he could make wise decisions regarding the people God had put within his care. While we may not be kings or queens, we can pray like Solomon, for those individuals in our lives, who we care about. As John Calvin noted, “To make intercession for men (or women) is the most powerful and practical way in which we can express our love for them.”
Prayer Point #4: When we pray, we bring our requests to God with the ultimate goal that His answer to our prayers will glorify His name. In the beautiful words of R. A. Torrey, “The chief purpose of prayer is that God may be glorified in the answer.” When God promised Solomon that the gift of wisdom was to be his, it was not so that Solomon could flaunt his knowledge. Instead, it was that this gift would reflect the Giver, and bring glory to God’s name. As C. S. Lewis penned, “The glory of God, and, as our only means to glorifying Him, the salvation of human souls, is the real business of life.”
The Message Bible paraphrases 1 Kings 3: 10 in this way: “God, the Master, was delighted with Solomon’s response. And God said to him (Solomon), ‘Because you have asked for this and haven’t grasped after a long life, or riches, or the doom of your enemies, but you have asked for the ability to lead and govern well, I’ll give you what you’ve asked for – I’m giving you a wise and mature heart.” Isn’t this your prayer, too?
“My God, how wonderful Thou art! Thy majesty how bright! How beautiful Thy mercy-seat. In depths of burning light! How wonderful, how beautiful, The sight of thee must be, Thine endless wisdom, boundless power, and awful purity.”
“How great is your goodness, dear Lord?
Blessed are You for ever!
May all created things praise You, O God,
for loving us so much that we can truthfully speak
of Your fellowship with mankind, even in this earthly exile;
and however virtuous we may be,
our virtue always depends on Your great warmth
and generosity, dear Lord.
Your bounty is infinite.
How wonderful are Your works!”
St. Teresa of Avila
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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