Everyone needs to know….
The next passage is a prayer of dedication. Solomon has finished building the temple and the only next step is to dedicate the building and its contents to God. I suppose it’s a bit like a grand opening today – where we mark the construction of a new wing of a hospital or the start of a new project with a visit from the Mayor and the cutting of a ribbon and some words of thanks for all the hard work gone before and some words of encouragement about the project ahead.
We had Dedication Services for all of our children at church – where we gave thanks for each child before God and dedicated each child to God and promised to nurture and care for each child. These were wonderful occasions where all our friends and families joined together with us in this act of thanksgiving and dedication.
Some people ask for a vicar to visit a house when they move in to pray in each room for God’s blessing on the house and to dedicate the house to God. This is a great way to recognise that all that we have is a gift from God and to be thankful for it and to ask that God use it for His glory and service. We are about to get a new car – I think when we do we should dedicate our car to God….to thank Him for it and to dedicate it to Him for His service and glory.
It’s about getting our priorities right and taking a moment to remember and pledge……
The whole of Solomon’s Prayer of Dedication can be found in 1 Kings 8:22-61 – do have a read if you get a chance. This is a summary/paraphrase of the key messages that we can think about when dedicating our lives, our work, our children, our cars and houses, our talents etc etc etc to God –
God, there is no one like you. There has never been anyone else like you. You’ve kept your promises to everyone who has trusted you and obeyed you through the ages and everyone who trusts and obeys you today.
I trust you to keep your promises to me. I trust you to be with me and for me always.
I know there is no building big enough on this earth to contain you, O God. So open my eyes to see you all around me. Open my ears to hear what you have to say.
God, hear my prayer and the prayers of your people who cry out to you.
And when you hear, forgive.
Help us to put right any wrongs.
Help us to forgive.
When we get distracted and forget about you, then show mercy and remind us and bring us back to you.
Deal with our hearts.
Teach us the right way to live and in your love, continue to provide for us and protect us.
Wherever you send me and whatever I have to face, hear me and answer me and protect me. Be with me.
And when I make mistakes – because let’s face it, who doesn’t? – help me to face up to them and learn from them…..forgive me, because I belong to you and always will.
Because you chose me to be yours. And that’s what I want to be.
May the Lord our God be with us as he was with our ancestors; may he never leave us nor forsake us. May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in obedience to him and keep the commands, decrees and laws he gave our ancestors. (v57-58)
So after this wonderful prayer of dedication and blessing and after fourteen days of sacrifices and celebrations, the people return home feeling on top of the world –
On the following day he sent the people away. They blessed the king and then went home, joyful and glad in heart for all the good things the Lord had done for his servant David and his people Israel. 1 Kings 8:66
Remembering to count our blessings lifts our spirits.
Being reminded of who God is and all that He has done revives our soul.
Being reminded of God’s promises gives strength to the weak and comfort to the suffering.
I’ve been pondering quick fixes and how we are encouraged in the media and by our contemporaries to turn to them – smoking, a glass of wine, a bar of chocolate, a bit of retail therapy, a big Mac (have you seen the new McDonald’s emoticon ad campaign?), medication, other transitory pleasures……I’ve been wondering how to promote healthier quick fixes (although I recognise there is no such thing as a quick fix really…) – running, yoga, a breathing exercise, raspberries, stroking a pet, having a good laugh with a friend…and this….how about printing off this prayer(or write your own) and keeping it with you and using it in a ‘down’ moment…..?
I’m going to give it a try.
Why don’t you?
And let me know how it works for you.