then hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive, and render to each according to all his ways, whose heart You know for You alone know the hearts of the sons of men,2 Chronicles 6:30(NASB)
Once the great Temple of Solomon had been constructed according to the pattern that was given, and after the various furnishings and fittings had been completed, the young king called the nation together and blessed the whole congregation - rehearsing his great proclamation in the ears of the entire nation, before dedicating the magnificent building to the Lord, with his heartfelt prayer for the nation of Israel.
Solomon prayed a blessing over the entire nation, and blessed the Lord God before the whole congregation. He reminded the people that God did not dwell in houses made of stone, for He is the great and mighty God of the universe and Creator of all things.
But his father, David, had purposed in his heart to build a house for the Lord, Who graciously permitted his son Solomon to construct the majestic building, for His holy name's sake. The temple would house the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the holy agreement which God had made with the nation of Israel - in the distant days of God's servant, Moses.
It was as he stood before the altar of God in the presence of the whole assembly of Israel, that Solomon offered his prayer of dedication to the Lord. It was a reminder to God, of the many precious promises He had made to His people, Israel, and the king humbly prayed that God would be faithful to carry out and complete, the good work that He had begun with the people of Israel, so that the name of the Lord might be glorified.
He asked for forgiveness on behalf of the nation and requested that God would water the earth, following the inevitable droughts which would result from sin. He pleaded for the people to be saved from famine and delivered from pestilence.. and Solomon prayed that God's people would honour the name of the Lord - by acknowledging their own, personal sin, as they prayed, stretching out their hands toward the Temple of God.
Solomon beseeched the Lord to hear his prayer and to answer his petition from heaven, which he acknowledged is God's true dwelling place. He pleaded with the Lord, that whatever prayer or supplication would be made by any individual Israelite or by the entire nation of Israel, God would graciously, "forgive, and render to each, according to all his ways."
Solomon's father had been, "a man after God's own heart," who trusted the Word of the Lord, and the young king Solomon also humbly acknowledged that God is able to read the thoughts and intentions of man's heart - and so he prayed that if, individually or collectively, the people of Israel would turn to the Lord with their heartfelt and genuine prayer, that God would hear from His heavenly dwelling place, and forgive their sin and heal their land.
Solomon's long and memorable prayer, was specifically offered to the Lord, on behalf of the people of Israel, and although Israel is the only nation that has ever made a covenant with the Lord and this request is specifically for God to hear and answer the prayers of the people of Israel when they pray in this manner, there is much that we can learn from Solomon's genuine, and humble approach to the Lord.
Solomon's prayer, identifies him as a man who expected God to answer his prayer. He believed that God is always true to His Word, and he trusted the Lord to faithfully keep His promises to the children of Israel. It teaches us that God is ready to listen to the man or woman who acknowledges their sin and reminds us that God is willing to re-establish sweet fellowship with His children, if they confess their faults to Him.
His prayer demonstrates God's willingness to listen to the private prayers of individuals, as well as the collective intercessions of the people of God. And Solomon's prayer indicates the importance of being specific, as we make our requests to the Lord, and of praying into His perfect will and purpose - in spirit and in truth.
May we take time to demonstrate in our own prayer-life, a like-minded trust in the goodness and faithfulness of our God and Father - for we have a great assurance that He hears and answers the prayers of His children, when they come from a heart that is in fellowship with Him.
Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a God Who hears and answers the prayers of Your children, when they pray in faith, and trust in Your never-failing faithfulness. Thank You that You are a faithful and righteous God, Who renders to each one of us according to our individual ways. Keep my heart pure towards You, for You alone can read the thoughts of the heart, and the imagination of the mind. May the words of my mouth, the thoughts of my heart, the meditation of my mind, and the motives behind my thinking, be always acceptable to You. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.