1 Kings 8:27- 30
27 “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!
28 Yet have regard to the prayer of your servant and to his plea, O Lord my God, listening to the cry and to the prayer that your servant prays before you this day,
29 that your eyes may be open night and day toward this house, the place of which you have said, ‘My name shall be there,’ that you may listen to the prayer that your servant offers toward this place.
30 And listen to the plea of your servant and of your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. And listen in heaven your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive.
Once again my mind is captured by one lone phrase from the passage for today. “… and when you hear, forgive.” Solomon could have said absolutely anything as he petitions the Lord before the people. “Make us rich;” “bring us peace;” “heal our sicknesses”. The list of things Solomon might have asked for is endless. But what does he acknowledge in this prayer? He recognizes that the first thing God must do for us is forgive. This simple admission that God is holy and we are not is stunning in its importance. Of course this is where he should begin.
Most of us are so very guilty of launching into our prayers with a shopping list of requests. Sometimes it’s almost embarrassing! We treat God like the big giant vending machine in the sky. But Solomon presents a solid role model here as he begins where our true need lay – forgiveness. When You listen to my prayers, dear Lord, please remember that what I need the most is forgiveness and only You can grant that.
Confessing our need for forgiveness means admitting that we have done things that are wrong in God’s sight; we have not lived in a manner that is holy and pure. This is tough to admit sometimes. Our pride stands in the way of this type of confession. But we all know it’s true. My greatest need is forgiveness.