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Prayer Warrior

Key References: 1 Kings 8:22-53; 2 Chronicles 5-7; Prophets and Kings, chap. 2, pp. 35-50; The Bible Story (1994), vol. 4, pp. 146-151; Our Beliefs nos. 14, 11, 17

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“Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way” (1 Kings 8:23).

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We honor God when we pray for others.

Think of a big meeting at which lots of people from your area got together for a special event. It was just like that when Solomon called all the people of Israel together for the dedication of the new Temple.

K ing Solomon stood in front of the magnificent Temple he had built for God. This permanent Temple was much larger and more magnificent than the tent tabernacle created while Moses led the people through the wilderness.

Seven years had passed since Solomon had commanded that work begin on this Temple. Finally it was the day of official dedication. The Israelite people were gathered in expectation. Leaders and kings from other nations were also present, wanting to know more about famous King Solomon and his God.

The seventh month was always a good time for celebrations. The harvest was finished, and the time for new planting had not begun. It was time for the Feast of Tabernacles, seven days set aside for thanking God for the harvest. Now the people would also celebrate God’s mercies by dedicating themselves and the new Temple to Him.

A procession came into view. The ark of the covenant, which had been crafted by Bezalel for the original tabernacle in the wilderness, was being carried to take its place in this new Temple. Every six steps the priests stopped and made sacrifices to God.

Finally the priests and singers had all taken their positions—Levites dressed in white linen and carrying cymbals and harps, 120 priests sounding trumpets.

Suddenly the cloud of God’s presence filled the Temple. Then King Solomon knelt on the five-foot-high platform he had prepared especially for this dedication around the altar of sacrifice in the Temple courtyard. His voice could be heard by all the people as he addressed God in prayer.

“Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way” (1 Kings 8:23).

“O God, will You really dwell here on earth? The heavens and even the of heavens cannot contain all Your glory! How much smaller and more insignificant is this house I’ve built for You? Please listen to our prayers. When Your people pray to You, hear us from heaven.heaven

“If Israel sins, and its people are given to their enemies, but are sorry and ask forgiveness, please hear and forgive their sins. When there is no rain because of their sins, and they ask Your forgiveness, hear the prayer and send rain on their land.

“If there is famine, or locusts, or enemies taking the city, or even sickness, hear the prayers of Your people and heal them, so they will trust You and know You and walk in Your ways.

“There are strangers here in Israel, and many have come here to learn of You. Listen to their prayers and help them know You and love You as Israel does today. Let them know that this House I built is called by Your name.

“If Your people go to war, and ask for Your help, listen to their prayers and strengthen them. When they are taken captive because of their sins and they seek You sincerely in prayer, hear their prayers and forgive and restore them to their lands.

“Lord, please turn Your eyes favorably toward Your servant and answer this prayer that I’ve spoken today in Your holy Temple. Bless Your priests and Your people with the desire to worship You with happy hearts. Remember David Your servant, and don’t turn away from me, Your anointed king over Your people” (see 1 Kings 8:27-61).

Suddenly, there was fire! It came down from heaven, and this holy fire consumed all the burnt offerings and sacrifices. Glory filled the Temple. All of Israel bowed down before God.

Solomon had prayed for all the people, for Jews and foreign visitors alike. God had honored that prayer and made His presence seen, felt, and known.

There were sacrifices, there was music, there was singing and rejoicing. Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the Temple left a deep impression on the hearts of the listeners. That day many decided to worship the God of Israel sincerely and with undivided hearts. Just as in the days of Solomon, our prayers for others are an important part of worshipping God. Our prayers for others reflect our faithfulness to the Creator whose love we share with His children.