One of the most inspiring prayers in the Bible is recorded in 1 Kings 8. When Solomon finished building the temple and had the ark placed in the Most Holy Place, the priests withdrew from the Holy Place and the cloud filled the temple. God’s presence was so awesome the priests couldn’t perform their service.
Solomon blessed the people and led in a dedicatory prayer. Eloquently he describes God and asks, “Will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!”
Then he introduces the purpose for the temple. It’s not just to be where God dwells. It’s to be a house of prayer. This is where people come back to God. If they can’t come in person, then they can turn from wherever they are toward the temple and pray, with confession, commitment and confidence. Solomon pleads that God would always hear from heaven when anyone, even a foreigner, seeks Him in this way.
This place was to be a catalyst through which answered prayer would bring many to know the true and living God. No wonder Jesus spoke so forcefully about the tragedy of making the temple a den of thieves when it was supposed to be a house of prayer.
Let me encourage you to reflect deeply over the prayer Solomon prayed, and the blessings he pronounced over the Israelites both before and after the prayer. Let his description of God inspire you to greater reverence and dependence on Him for a dynamic spiritual life and relationship with God.