HUMILITY – a hallmark of an EFFECTIVE PRAYER
April 9 Bible Reading: 1 Kings Chapters 7-9
"Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands toward heaven; and he said..." (1 Kings 8:22-23).
Solomon’s prayer of dedication of the temple that he had built in Jerusalem is recorded in 1 Kings 8:23-53, a long and descriptive prayer of thirty verses in which he covered any possible future scenarios that may happen in the life of the children of Israel. It is remarkable to note that Solomon started his prayer (v. 22) standing up and lifting his hands to God in surrender, but he ended his prayer kneeling down with his hands still being lifted up to God in humility. "And so it was, when Solomon had finished praying all this prayer and supplication to the Lord, that he arose from before the altar of the Lord, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven" (1 Kings 8:54). Sometime during his prayer, Solomon realized the greatness of God, and his posture changed from standing to kneeling as an act of humility and acknowledging the awesomeness of God.
At the start of his dedication prayer Solomon stood before the altar -- this position was in the court of the people, on a brazen scaffold erected for the occasion (2 Chron 6:13), in front of the altar of burnt offering, and surrounded by a multitude of people. However, during the course of prayer Solomon assumed the attitude of a suppliant, kneeling (1 Kings 8:54; compare 2 Chron 6:24) and with uplifted hands, he performed the solemn act of consecration. This sublime prayer referred to the national blessing and curse contained in the Law of Moses. Solomon specified seven cases in which the merciful intervention of God would be required on the condition of people praying towards that holy place. In this excellent prayer, Solomon did as we should do in every prayer: he gave glory to God. He recalled God's promises and praised God as he pleaded for grace and favor from God. Under one word "forgive" Solomon expressed all that he could ask in behalf of his people. Forgiveness of sin prepares the way to receive goodness from God. A fuller realization of God’s greatness, goodness and mercy drove Solomon to his knees as he spread out his hands in prayer.
Let us understand that humility is a hallmark of an effective prayer. Humility is necessary to the service of God (Micah 6:8) and is a characteristic of the saints of God (Psalms 34:2). Those who have humility are regarded by God. "Though the Lord is on high, yet He regards the lowly" (Psalms 138:6). "For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist" says the Lord. "But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word" (Isaiah 66:2). Those who pray with humility are heard by God as His word assures us: "He does not forget the cry of the humble" (Psalms 9:12)