God’s House of Prayer

Most organizations have a statement that declares their goals and explains how these goals will be accomplished. The mission statement is usually made public to inform and guide anyone who interacts with the organization.

In today’s passage, Solomon’s prayer is a kind of mission statement for the newly built temple. He marvels at a God who would make a way to dwell with humanity in fellowship, and he recognizes that God’s people can come to Him only through humble supplication. Here, Solomon envisions seven situations in which people will come to the temple. In this list, he describes the feuding neighbors, the defeated army, the drought-plagued farmers, the afflicted citizens, and the despairing captives. Caught in a variety of troubles, these people pray.

Perhaps most surprisingly Solomon includes “the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel” (v. 32)among those who stand in the temple courts and bring their requests to God. Right in the middle of his repeated supplications to God on behalf of “your people,” he asks God to hear the prayers of those who are not His people. The temple, built in Israel by Israel for Israel, is not Israel’s alone. Any person—or all people together—can pray there.

Unlike a mission statement, Solomon’s prayer is not simply aspirational but is based on the sure and certain covenant promises of God. His prayer foreshadows the vision of Isaiah and, later still, of Jesus. The promised future of God’s people includes every nation and people group coming together to pray. As commentator Edward Young writes: “Here is the beauty of holiness; men from all nations, brought to His household by sovereign grace, lift up the sacrifice of prayer unto His holy name.”

Apply the Word

Solomon set prayer as a clear priority for God’s people, and Isaiah and Jesus both called the temple “a house of prayer” (see Isa. 56:7; Matt. 21:3). Would you describe your church that way? What about your home? Why or why not? What are some ways you could seek to make interceding for and with others part of the mission statement for your life?

BY Megan Hill

Megan Hill (BA, Grove City College) serves on the editorial board for Christianity Today and is a regular contributor to the Her.meneutics blog and The Gospel Coalition website. She is the author of Praying Together: The Priority and Privilege of Prayer: In Our Homes, Communities, and Churches (Crossway), and she lives in West Springfield, Mass., with her husband and three children.

Browse Devotions by Date