I Kings 8:1-9:9
“And may these words of mine, which I have prayed before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, that he may uphold the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel according to each day’s need, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other.” ~I Kings 8:59-60
In I Kings 8, Solomon has just prayed one of the most moving prayers you will ever encounter in Scripture. It is long, but worth reading—and if your heart is tender toward God, you will be moved, for Solomon is really praying what you and I often pray. He asks for forgiveness—repeatedly and even in advance; he prays for protection; he requests provision; he invites God’s abiding presence; he appeals for success.
We pray those prayers, too. And God is faithful to answer our supplications—even when it doesn’t seem like he is or it feels like his answer is way too slow in coming. God forgives—repeatedly, he protects—constantly, he provides—daily, he is with us—always, even when we can’t see or feel him, and at the end of the day, he grants us the kind of success that heaven eternally celebrates.
So why does God do that? Why does he answer the prayers of little ol’ insignificant us? Is it because we are just so lovable? Perhaps—he really does love us, you know. Is it because we are so deserving? Not a chance! Is it to make us more comfortable? Maybe—but probably not, since he is much more concerned with our character than our comfort. Is it to relieve our pain and soothe our hurt? It could be—he really is moved with compassion by our plight. God answers prayers for a variety of reason, some of which we will never grasp. God has his reasons, and for those of us who call out to him, whatever his reasons, we are eternally grateful that he is a God who not only hears but answers prayers. How blessed we are to be the people of God!
Yet there remains a reason God answers our prayers that we don’t often think about. If we could ever get our brain around this, I think we would probably present our prayers and petitions in a lot better frame of mind and with a great deal more trust than we are prone to do. What is the reason God answers?
“So that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other.” ~I Kings 8:60
There you have it. Not for our petty purposes—although God graciously takes those into account—but for his redemptive purposes God supplies our needs and fulfills our desires. He blesses us with abundance, graces us with favor, covers and cares for us, supplies us with success so that people will look at us and be attracted to him. Through his blessings upon us, he receives glory, honor and praise. As we were created to do, we bring glory to him by being a real, live example of answered prayer.
Now understanding the purpose of answered prayer in that light ought to make praying a whole different—and better—experience for us, wouldn’t you say? Get addicted to God’s glory—even in your praying—and you will likely see a significant uptick in your prayers being answered.
“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” ~John Piper