Praying in the true Temple
By Pr.Steven Hynes
Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the whole assembly of Israel and spread out his hands.
2 Chron 6:12
2 Chronicles 6:12-40
records the great prayer of Solomon at the dedication of the temple in Jerusalem. This is a unique prayer from the Old Testament. It is, perhaps, the only passage in the Old Testament that is a report of a formal prayer uttered on a great state occasion. The whole nation — or at least a great portion of it — had gathered in the courts of the temple to dedicate the new building that Solomon had erected according to the plans that his father David had drawn.
The nearest thing we would have to this scene in America today would be the Inauguration of a President. Like our Inauguration, on this occasion a special platform had been built for the king in the great courtyard of the temple, in front of the brazen altar, where the sacrifices for sin were offered. On that platform King Solomon began this prayer with a recognition of God's promise to David, his father, that there would never lack a man to sit upon the throne of Israel.
Solomon's prayer consists of eight wide-ranging requests which concern the temple and the place of prayer in the life of the people of Israel. Though these requests had specific applications to the people of Israel, they have specific application in our own lives as well. For instance, the Jews were to face the temple when they prayed, no matter where they were in the land. This has a specific application to us. In the New Testament we are told that our bodies are the temple of God. This is a truth that is often missed today. It is very hurtful when Christians refer to buildings as the house of God. The New Testament never calls any building the house of God. Church buildings are not the houses of God — we are. Everywhere in the New Testament the answer to the temple of the old regime is the human body and our personal lives. We are the habitation of God, by the Spirit. When we gather, the whole place becomes the temple of the living God; God dwelling among his people by the Spirit.
That is what makes our coming together a recognition of the presence of God in our midst. Jesus said that when two or three of us gather, he is in our midst (Matthew 18:20). What makes a church meaningful is the recognition that we gather as the temple of the living God. Considering this, the prayer of Solomon's becomes a marvelous teaching ministry on the place and the power of prayer in our lives.
Father, I pray that I may become a person of prayer, learning to communicate with the God of Glory, and finding in the place of prayer with other believers the answer to the personal needs that afflict us day by day.
When we are in Christ, he is in us -- we are his temple! Are we awakening to the awesome intimacy with Christ available in this relationship? Have we begun to grasp that prayer is therefore ongoing communication with the One in whom we live and breathe and have our being?