Sermons

Summary: Prayer Warriors, Pt. 2

THY WILL BE DONE (1 KINGS 8:22-54)

Once upon a time there was a man who went hunting. He was hunting bears. As he trudged through the forest looking for bears, he came upon a large and steep hill. He climbed the hill and, just as he was pulling himself up over the last outcropping of rocks, a huge bear met him nose to nose.

The bear roared fiercely. The man was so scared that he lost his balance and fell down the hill with the bear not far behind. On the trip down the hill the man lost his gun. When he finally stopped trembling, he found that he had a broken leg. Escape was impossible and so the man, who had never been particularly religious, prayed: “God, if you will make this bear a Christian I will be happy with whatever lot you give me for the rest of my life.”

The bear was no more than three feet away from the man when it stopped dead in its tracks, looked up to the heavens quizzically, and then fell to its knees and prayed in a loud voice: “Lord bless this food of which I am about to partake. Amen.” (James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited “Prayer” Tyndale, 1988)

People love to ask favors. The questions “Can you do me a favor?” and “Would you do me a favor?” are often heard among friends, coworkers and acquaintances. Adding the word “special” to it – “Can you do me a special favor?” - means that more pressure is on the one being asked than the one asking. Sometimes people ask nicely, “Please do me a favor.” Often, they simply say, “Do me a favor.” It is common, sociable, and instinctive to do so nowadays.

Solomon, possibly the wisest person in history, was never one shy or short of words, but when he had finally finished building the temple in Jerusalem, he never asked God for a favor or treated Him like a favor bank. Words like “I need a favor” or “You owe me a favor” or “I have a favor to ask” never passed his lips. Sure, Solomon used the Hebrew word “hear” 14 times (1 Kings 8:28, 29, 30, 30, 30, 32, 34, 36, 39, 42, 43, 45, 49, 52), but he did not ask God for something outside His will - for things that are nonsense, far-fetched or irresponsible.

God is Faithful to the Family

22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in front of the whole assembly of Israel, spread out his hands toward heaven 23 and said: “O LORD, 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. 24 You have kept your promise to your servant David my father; with your mouth you have promised and with your hand you have fulfilled it-as it is today. 25 “Now LORD, God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father the promises you made to him when you said, ’You shall never fail to have a man to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your sons are careful in all they do to walk before me as you have done.’ 26 And now, O God of Israel, let your word that you promised your servant David my father come true. (1 Kings 8:22-26)

Two buckets met at a well one day. One bucket had a big smile on its face. The other had a big frown. “Why are you frowning?” asked the happy bucket. “Oh, no matter how full I am when I leave the well, I always return empty,” complained the sad bucket.

“And why are you always smiling?” asked the sad bucket. “No matter how empty I am when I come to the well, I always leave full.”

It’s been said, “Success is getting what you want. Happiness is liking what you get.” (H. Jackson Brown) A line from the movie “Pearl Harbor” says, “Life never asked me what I wanted.”

People spend more time asking God and praying for what they do not have than thanking God for what they have. We want countless things, increasing wealth, the world on a platter, but prayer is not coveting material possessions or currying God’s favors, but claiming God’s promises and counting your blessings.

Solomon’s gratitude to the Lord, God of Israel, in his prayer was a step in the right direction. He never presumed that he was godly, talented or deserving. He acknowledged that he hopped onto his father’s bandwagon and rode on his father’s coattails, rather than succeeding on his own merit or worthiness. God showed love or, the better translation, loving-kindness to him because his father followed the Lord wholeheartedly (v 23). Claiming what God had promised his father was enough for Solomon and acceptable to God.

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