2 Chronicles 6:12-42 (Part 3) – We All Need That “Nothing But Prayer” Prayer Time!

Posted: July 21, 2020 in 14-2 Chronicles

2 Chronicles 6:12-42 (Part 3 of 4)

Solomon’s Prayer of Dedication

Opening Illustration/Comments

Everybody always thinks that a pastor has his life all together. No problems, right? Even us pastors are like any other Christian; we are still maturing in Christ day by day, mistake by mistake, victory by victory, lesson learned by lesson learned. One of the areas of my spiritual life that I still struggle with is my personal times of prayer. I can pray for others easily. I can pray public prayers on demand (which is a growth spot for me over the last 2-3 years). However, I struggle to find time to have specific prayers on my own time. Don’t get me wrong, I talk with God about things pretty much hourly every day. He is just part of everything that I do and there is this undercurrent of conversation between Him and me that goes on throughout the day each day. However, like I said, I struggle with personal, specific, set aside, doing nothing else prayer time.

One of the excuses I use is that I use my two-hour walks from 5am-7am as communion time with the Lord. Lamar is quiet and dark for 45 minutes of the walk (right now in summer) and quiet and newly light for an hour and 15 minutes of my walk. And, yes, I do use this time to talk to the Lord about a wide variety of topics, many of which have to do with what to do about situations at the church I serve. It is during this time that I often work through anger at those situations. It is during this time that I often cry out to Him about every pastor’s feelings of inadequacy for the task He has called each of us to. It is during these times that He makes a thought pop into my head from the Holy Spirit as to the answers to my prayer discussions with Him. There are only a few cars to deal with at this time of the morning on my usual routes around town. I talk to Him about my sermons. I talk to Him about non-church related stuff, too. But much of it is about church. But, again, as I said before, even this time of communion with the Lord while I am walking is while I am doing something else. My discussions may get interrupted by thoughts such as “watch out for that mud puddle” or “I hope that barking dog is behind a fence” or “I wish I had something to kill all the sweat bees that live in all these dogwood trees around town that buzz around your head just after dawn.” A constantly circling and dive bombing sweat bee will break your concentration quickly. Then, you have to take your hat off and swat in circular motions around your head to get them to quit buzzing you. I am sure when that occurs and people see me swatting at something that they cannot see from a distance, it probably looks like I am challenged in some way. But I digress. Just know, I hate the sweat bees.

Thus, as you can see, it’s not like I don’t have conversations with God virtually all day and I have two hours set aside each day during my early morning walks Sundays-Thursdays where I talk to God a lot. However, where I fall short is having that uninterrupted prayer time, that time of prayer where you are doing nothing else but that. No jogging or walking. No doing daily tasks at the church. No doing personal tasks at home. Just straight-up prayer only. Maybe, it seems self-centered to have specific time set aside for bringing our petitions to Him in prayer. Maybe, it’s that it still, after all these years of being a Christ follower, it still feels a bit awkward to have personal, nothing else time for prayer. It is much easier for me to pray for somebody else and offer public prayers on demand or offer prepared public prayers with heartfelt sincerity believing that God will answer the petition in the way that He will. But that personal me time, with nothing else going on but me praying to the Lord, I am still a work-in-progress on that.

It is that idea committing to being better about specific times, of nothing else but prayer, prayer time that I thought about this morning when reading this passage, 2 Chronicles 6:12-42. Let’s read through it this morning, together, with that idea in mind:

Scripture Passage

12 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the entire community of Israel, and he lifted his hands in prayer. 13 Now Solomon had made a bronze platform 7 1⁄2 feet long, 7 1⁄2 feet wide, and 4 1⁄2 feet high[a] and had placed it at the center of the Temple’s outer courtyard. He stood on the platform, and then he knelt in front of the entire community of Israel and lifted his hands toward heaven. 14 He prayed,

“O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in all of heaven and earth. You keep your covenant and show unfailing love to all who walk before you in wholehearted devotion. 15 You have kept your promise to your servant David, my father. You made that promise with your own mouth, and with your own hands you have fulfilled it today.

16 “And now, O Lord, God of Israel, carry out the additional promise you made to your servant David, my father. For you said to him, ‘If your descendants guard their behavior and faithfully follow my Law as you have done, one of them will always sit on the throne of Israel.’ 17 Now, O Lord, God of Israel, fulfill this promise to your servant David.

18 “But will God really live on earth among people? Why, even the highest heavens cannot contain you. How much less this Temple I have built! 19 Nevertheless, listen to my prayer and my plea, O Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is making to you. 20 May you watch over this Temple day and night, this place where you have said you would put your name. May you always hear the prayers I make toward this place. 21 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.

22 “If someone wrongs another person and is required to take an oath of innocence in front of your altar at this Temple, 23 then hear from heaven and judge between your servants—the accuser and the accused. Pay back the guilty as they deserve. Acquit the innocent because of their innocence.

24 “If your people Israel are defeated by their enemies because they have sinned against you, and if they turn back and acknowledge your name and pray to you here in this Temple, 25 then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your people Israel and return them to this land you gave to them and to their ancestors.

26 “If the skies are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you, and if they pray toward this Temple and acknowledge your name and turn from their sins because you have punished them, 27 then hear from heaven and forgive the sins of your servants, your people Israel. Teach them to follow the right path, and send rain on your land that you have given to your people as their special possession.

28 “If there is a famine in the land or a plague or crop disease or attacks of locusts or caterpillars, or if your people’s enemies are in the land besieging their towns—whatever disaster or disease there is— 29 and if your people Israel pray about their troubles or sorrow, raising their hands toward this Temple, 30 then hear from heaven where you live, and forgive. Give your people what their actions deserve, for you alone know each human heart. 31 Then they will fear you and walk in your ways as long as they live in the land you gave to our ancestors.

32 “In the future, foreigners who do not belong to your people Israel will hear of you. They will come from distant lands when they hear of your great name and your strong hand and your powerful arm. And when they pray toward this Temple, 33 then hear from heaven where you live, and grant what they ask of you. In this way, all the people of the earth will come to know and fear you, just as your own people Israel do. They, too, will know that this Temple I have built honors your name.

34 “If your people go out where you send them to fight their enemies, and if they pray to you by turning toward this city you have chosen and toward this Temple I have built to honor your name, 35 then hear their prayers from heaven and uphold their cause.

36 “If they sin against you—and who has never sinned?—you might become angry with them and let their enemies conquer them and take them captive to a foreign land far away or near. 37 But in that land of exile, they might turn to you in repentance and pray, ‘We have sinned, done evil, and acted wickedly.’ 38 If they turn to you with their whole heart and soul in the land of their captivity and pray toward the land you gave to their ancestors—toward this city you have chosen, and toward this Temple I have built to honor your name— 39 then hear their prayers and their petitions from heaven where you live, and uphold their cause. Forgive your people who have sinned against you.

40 “O my God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to all the prayers made to you in this place.

41

“And now arise, O Lord God, and enter your resting place,

    along with the Ark, the symbol of your power.

May your priests, O Lord God, be clothed with salvation;

    may your loyal servants rejoice in your goodness.

42

O Lord God, do not reject the king you have anointed.

    Remember your unfailing love for your servant David.”.

Passage Analysis

In this passage, we see that Solomon led the people in prayer. He asked God to hear their prayers concerning a variety of situations. He prayed about crime (6:22-23), enemy attacks (6:24-25), drought (6:26-27), famine (6:28-31), foreigners among them (6:32-33), war (6:34-35), and sin (6:36-39). That’s quite a list of things for a single prayer, but God is concerned with all these things that we face in our fallen world and much more. He is interested in everything we face including the difficult situations that we bring upon ourselves. He wants us to bring it all to Him in prayer. We must remember that He does hear our prayers and even the groanings of our soul. Therefore, even in the midst of the most extreme circumstances, you can trust that the Lord hears your prayers.

Life Application

I think the thing that we need to takeaway this morning is to think about my “nothing else but prayer” prayer time similar to my exercise commitment. When I started walking early each morning back in the day. It was something that I had to set aside time for when I knew I would do it. Setting the alarm for early in the morning and getting up to turn the alarm off somewhere outside my bedroom was a start. Once you’re up and walk to another room to turn your phone alarm off, you up and so you get your jogging clothes on and you go. But if I had decided to do these walks after work, I would never do ‘em. When I get home from work, the tendency is to get involved in something around the house or just flop on the couch – not put on gym shorts and t-shirt and turn around go right back out of the house for two hours. Just wasn’t going to happen.

I need to find a 15-30 minute window each day where I know I will do it that I set aside time for “nothing but prayer” prayer time. Do you have this same struggle? Let us remember that as the passage analysis states, the Lord wants our prayers. We shouldn’t feel self-centered about it. He is a personal God as well the God of the universe. He knows us intimately already. He knows already our sorrows, joys, challenges, victories, all of it. What we should remember though that God is not a vending machine for our personal desires during our “nothing by prayer” prayer time or any time. We must pray for God’s will in all the petitions we bring to Him. We must ask Him to change our heart if it needs changing on a subject. We must ask Him to confirm in our heart that we are heading in the right direction on something. We must ask Him how to handle conflict situations in ways that honor Him. It’s all about changing us toward His way of thinking not the other way around. But, yes, He wants us to have these intimate times with Him. Please here me, I am not saying that our ongoing conversations with the Lord are not valuable or not as valuable as specific times of prayer. I am not saying that. We need both. God loves it when we make Him part of our every minute of our every day. He wants the ongoing conversation. He wants to be a part of every moment and every thought we have. All I am saying is, is that we need to also have specific times each day where we block everything out and do nothing else but prayer. We need that “nothing but prayer” prayer time.

Amen and Amen.

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