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What Did Solomon Pray For?

Wisdom, right? But there was more in this young king’s prayer than that.

What did King Solomon pray for?

If I were on some game show where the subject was “The Bible” and the host asked me what Solomon prayed for, I would have said, “Wisdom.” Slam-dunk. Right?

But I was reading Solomon’s prayer the other day and found it much more interesting than I expected. And helpful.

If you’ll remember from Sunday school, Solomon had just become king, following in his father David’s footsteps and the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Ask whatever you wish, and I’ll give it to you,” says God. Seems like quite an opportunity to ask for the world, no?

But the new young king exhibited an extraordinary amount of humility. “I am young and inexperienced,” he said. “I know next to nothing.” Note to self: An honest self-evaluation is a good way to start any prayer.

Solomon continued by outlining his situation, how he was in the midst of a teeming population that couldn’t be counted due to his vast size, and he was their new king. It was overwhelming.

Then he asks–in a single Bible verse (1Kings 3:9) packed with meaning–three things.

First he says, “Please give your servant a discerning mind in order to govern your people…” That sounds like more than just wisdom. It’s perception, understanding, caring. Worthy attributes even if you’re not governing people.

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He goes on, asking God for the ability to “distinguish good from evil…” Wow. That’s a biggie and a reminder that sometimes we need guidance to know the difference.

Finally he concludes “…because no one is able to govern this important people of yours without your help.” Without your help. That’s the key phrase. Doing anything significant means knowing that you can’t do it without Big Help.

A discerning mind, the ability to distinguish good from evil and acknowledging the need for help.

As you’ll remember God gave Solomon all he asked for, and threw in wealth, fame and long life for good measure. Those are external things but they came when he asked for the right personal qualities, internal things.

There is wisdom to that. 

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