Solomon prays a powerful prayer at the dedication of the Temple that he was finally able to build for the Lord in Jerusalem.
It's important first to note his posture when he prays this prayer, because it reminds us of something essential about Solomon's heart. Solomon, the great king of Israel, got on a platform in front of his people, elevating himself to prominence before their very eyes. Then, he got on his knees so that they could see his humility. He bowed himself low so that the Temple behind him rose high. And then, he prayed.
In this simple act, Solomon demonstrates an understanding of both his power and his place, and he shows the people that though he is their king, he is not the greatest among them. Though he build this immeasurable Temple, even the glory for it is not his; its glory is greater. And then, he prays - not for himself, but for the people. And not just for his people.
This is what I love about Solomon's prayer. He remembers everyone because he knows that the Lord is greater than his own kingdom.
There comes a point in Solomon's prayer when he prays for the unbeliever and the outsider. Specifically, he prays that if someone who doesn't belong to the Lord and doesn't know the Lord sees this Temple or hears about this Temple and prays to the Lord, that God would hear them and answer so that His glory would be known over all the earth.
When was the last time you prayed for the Lord to bless someone who doesn't claim to belong to Him?
No, really. This is important. Because modern Christianity has spent a lot of its history condemning the unbeliever for sport. We've spent our time thinking that the person who doesn't believe in God doesn't deserve God. We've invested ourselves in making sure that the unbelieving world knows how doomed it is and we take some kind of perverse joy in reminding them of that.
We've made it harder for the unbeliever to ever find God because we have been so loud about just how much God despises him or her for not believing. We mock the unbeliever when he or she prays. Oh, now you pray? To a God you don't believe in? He's not some kind of genie, you know. It doesn't work like that.
But what if it works like that?
What if God answering the prayer of the unbeliever is exactly what that unbeliever needs to become a believer? What if God responding to a desperate heart is what it takes to make that a regenerate heart? What if we prayed that God would answer everyone who calls on His name, believer or unbeliever, so that His glory would be known over all the earth?
What if we, like Solomon, remember everyone because we know that God's kingdom is bigger than our own?