Solomon has built a magnificent house of worship for the Lord. He has followed the Lord’s will, and the house has been filled with furnishings, priests, musicians, sacrifices and much prayer. And because Solomon’s worship was regulated according to the principles of God, the Holy Spirit graced God’s people with his holy presence.
And when the priests came out of the Holy Place, a cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD. (1 Kings 8:10-11)
In response, Solomon’s posture was altered. He became quite charismatic in his expression as he hit his knees and stretched out his hands toward heaven. (8:54) From this position, Solomon led his people in prayers of adoration, thanksgiving, confession and supplication. The Temple was a house of preaching. The Temple was a house of singing. The Temple was a house of fellowship. The Temple was a house of evangelism and discipleship. However, first and foremost, the temple was a house of prayer.
Then, following his season of prayer on his knees, Solomon stood and prayed again with his people:
The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our fathers. May he not leave us or forsake us, that he may incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his rules, which he commanded our fathers. Let these words of mine, with which I have pleaded before the LORD, be near to the LORD our God day and night, and may he maintain the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel, as each day requires, that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God; there is no other. Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the LORD our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day. (1 Kings 8:57-61)
Within this prayer, we see a prayer for communion. Solomon expresses his desire to walk hand-in-hand with the Lord. As much as possible, he desired not to grieve God’s Holy Spirit.
Within this prayer, we see a prayer for sanctifying grace. Solomon, and all wise Christians, know they are justified by grace alone. One’s efforts or works have nothing to do with one being declared righteous by the Heavenly Father. However, Solomon also understands he is further sanctified by God’s grace. Therefore, with this doctrine in mind, Solomon implores the Lord to incline his will towards holiness.
Within this prayer, we see a promise of human works. While the Christian is justified by grace alone, he is not sanctified by grace alone. Sanctification is a joint-venture between God and men. Indeed, without grace, believers make no progress in their sanctification. But additionally, without works, believers will also find themselves stagnant in sanctification. The victorious Christian is made more holy as God sanctifies them and as they work diligently on their own holiness. Therefore, as Solomon prays for God’s reviving and sanctifying grace, he also promises to guard his heart, walk in God’s statutes, and keep his commandments.
So, perhaps this should be our morning prayer. Father, we long for communion. Father, we need additional daily grace. Father, we will work diligently for your glory, with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.