Biblical Prayer –

Conversations with God: David and Solomon

2 Samuel 2:1; 2 Samuel 5:19

1 Kings 3:4-15

Random Walk in a Gallery of Religious Art, Step 16: 1 Kings 3:4-15a, The Wisdom of Solomon

More About Biblical Prayer

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2 Samuel 2:1; 2 Samuel 5:19 (8/28/08)

The Sunday School class that I'm in often comments that it's difficult to get explicit guidance from God about what He wants us to do.  I suspect there are two reasons for this.  First, a lot of the answers are already in the book, and God probably figures that if we won't open His letter, we won't take His phone call, either.  Second, a lot of our requests fall into the category of "Should I buy a red sports car or a blue sports car?"  Maybe God wants us to buy a four-door sedan.  Or a camel.  Here's John Wesley's comment on today's first verse: So the question ought to be, "God, where should I be spending my money?"  And the answer to that is already in the book.  We saw scripture a few days ago that showed that our prayers of thanksgiving should be specific, but David's example shows that requests for guidance can stand to be more open-ended. Today’s Prayer: Dear God, help me to focus less on my questions and more on your answers.  Amen.


1 Kings 3:4-15 (8/29/08)

A man was walking along the beach and found a bottle.  When he rubbed it, a genie appeared and offered to grant him a wish.  The man said, "I want to go to Hawaii, but I get seasick.  Build me a bridge!"  The genie said, "Are you kidding?  Think of the concrete, the rebar, the asphalt!  Make a different wish."  The man thought it over and said, "I want to understand women."  After a moment, the genie responded, "Two lanes or four?" 

Now here is an important thing:  exactly the same joke is told with God in place of the genie!  Look it up; you'll find it in both versions.  All too often, we pray with the idea that God is a genie, compelled to grant our wishes just because we say abracadabra – I mean, amen – at the end.    

In most genie stories, the person asks for health, wealth, and power, not a bridge to Hawaii.  When God offered Solomon the chance to make a wish, God expected him to ask for health, wealth, and power (vs. 3:11).  Instead, Solomon asked for discernment, and God gave him that – and health, wealth, and power to boot.  He needed all these gifts if he was going to do a good job of ruling God's people.

Today’s Prayer: Dear God, Give me whatever you think will best equip me to serve you.  Amen.

Random Walk in a Gallery of Religious Art, Step 16: 1 Kings 3:4-15a, The Wisdom of Solomon (3/23/15)

God was pleased with Solomon, not because he offered 1000 burnt offerings, but because he admitted that he was in over his head and needed God’s help. God gave him the wisdom he asked for, and in addition God gave him wealth and power. The best-known example of Solomon’s wisdom, of course, is the way he determined which of the two women who came to him was the real mom. Gustave Doré shows the dramatic moment when Solomon stands to give his decision. I’m interested in the two women. The real mom is frantic. She throws herself on the swordsman to physically prevent him from harming the baby. The fake mom, in contrast, is perfectly calm, and she’s not even looking at the baby. I like the way Doré has rendered her as the darkest of the prominent characters, to suit her dark personality.

Previous Step. Next Step.
The judgement of Solomon. Click to enlarge. See below for provenance.
"The Judgment of Solomon" from the Gartin family Bible,
now in the private collection of Regina Hunter.

More About Biblical Prayer

The Purpose of Prayer
Conversations with God – Abraham
Conversations with God – Moses
Conversations with God – David and Solomon
Adoration: Sing to the Lord a New Song
Liturgical Prayer
When God Speaks
God promises to answer all prayers…
… Except the prayers of the Wicked. But if the Wicked repent, God hears them, too.
Sometimes the answer is “No.”
The disciples talk about prayer.
How Not to Pray
How to Pray: Effectively
How to Pray – Privately
How to Pray – Corporately

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Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the Bible-study participants.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers for their support and enthusiasm.  All errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.

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