Still reading about Solomon’s dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem. He prayed this massive public prayer (anyone notice that no one prays that long anymore?) and I thought what he asked for was interesting. This is the verse that first caught my attention:
May you hear the humble and earnest requests from me and your people Israel when we pray toward this place. Yes, hear us from heaven where you live, and when you hear, forgive. ~2 Chr 6:21
It grabbed my attention because Solomon is asking for God to watch over the Temple and listen to his requests and the requests of the people of Israel. I expected him to ask God to grant the requests, but instead the first thing he asks is for God’s forgiveness.
This request sets the tone for the rest of the prayer. Solomon asks God to
- Hear and judge (v23) – when someone claims innocence
- Hear and forgive (v25) – when Israel is defeated because the nation has sinned
- Hear and forgive (v 27) – when there is drought because the nation has sinned
- Hear and forgive (v 30) – when there is famine, plague, locusts, or the nation is besieged
- Hear and grant (v33) – foreigner’s requests
- Hear and uphold (v34) – when there is war
- Hear and uphold, forgive (v39) – when Israel is conquered and in exile
Solomon’s prayer is part prophetic because all of these things come to pass, and probably based on Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 where God delineates the punishments for disobedience.
It makes me think of how many of our prayers are “hear and grant” when they should really be “hear and forgive.”