Responding to The Call To Prayer | Wendy Massey (The Seven)
2 Chronicles 7:11-22
The Lord appears to Solomon
11 When Solomon had finished the temple of the Lord and the royal palace, and had succeeded in carrying out all he had in mind to do in the temple of the Lordand in his own palace, 12 the Lord appeared to him at night and said:
‘I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices.
13 ‘When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there for ever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.
17 ‘As for you, if you walk before me faithfully as David your father did, and do all I command, and observe my decrees and laws, 18 I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father when I said, “You shall never fail to have a successor to rule over Israel.”
19 ‘But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple which I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. 21 This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and say, “Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?” 22 People will answer, “Because they have forsaken the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshipping and serving them – that is why he brought all this disaster on them.”’
Responding to the Call to Prayer
God gives us a life to be lived to the full, and we can do so thanks to Jesus. Just as the Israelites found God in the Temple, so we find him in Jesus, who died to rescue us and give us his Spirit. But how fully do we live our lives, with, in and for him?
When I bought my iPhone a year ago, it took me weeks to gradually discover how I could use it. Even now I keep discovering apps I didn't know existed. Maybe God sees that in a similar way we are only scratching the surface of our lives. There is so much more he wants for us, which we could access if only we turned fully towards him and met him in prayer every day.
Solomon had completed his grand plan, building the temple and the palace. The question God put to him was 'Now what?' It is a relevant question for those of us who answered the 'Call to Prayer', focussing on praying three times a day. Will we maintain that rhythm as the weeks go by? Or will we find ourselves distracted and gradually lose the daily habit of turning to God in prayer?
Perhaps the key to this will be to what extent we know that God is good. If our prayer is merely dutiful, it probably won't take much to divert us from it. But if we love and trust God, convinced of his goodness, we will want to be with him, talking and listening - i.e. praying. When we do get distracted, we will turn back to him much more quickly, genuinely sorry that we have let ourselves embrace other priorities and excluded him.
So how good is your God? Are there areas in your life where you don't see his goodness? What causes us to disbelieve God's goodness? These are questions you might find disturbing, but God knows our innermost thoughts, doubts and fears - and still loves us! The best way to overcome doubts is to get them out in the open, so maybe take a moment to sit down with a friend or two and explore them together.