We are studying 1 Kings 8:22-30 and up through verse 53 for Sunday. [Some notes on the text are here.] Here are a few questions we might want to consider or discuss as we study the text:

The beginning of Solomon’s prayer (verses 27-30) addresses God as someone who will not “dwell” in the Temple, but will hopefully turn towards, see and listen to the prayers directed towards the Temple. What does Solomon’s address tell us Solomon thinks about God, or how Solomon envisions God? (e.g., great, small, near, distant, etc.) What does it tell us about the way Solomon thinks about the Temple?

How does this compare with the way we ourselves think about or envision God?

How does this compare with the way we ourselves think about our own place of worship?

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In the request Solomon makes in verses 31-32 implies that God can and hopefully will judge individual good and bad behavior – when “someone sins against a neighbor” – and bring punishment on the guilty and vindicate the righteous. The requests Solomon makes in verses 33-40 suggests that defeat in war, and drought, may be the consequences of God’s response to human sin. The request in verses 37-40, on the other hand, suggest that various natural disasters may simply be conditions that God can respond to, and perhaps relieve.

How do these ideas compare with the way we ourselves think about or envision God? Why is that? What would need to change in our view of God to have a view more like Solomon’s? Do we see any advantages having that understanding of God? Any disadvantages?

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In verses 41-43, Solomon specifically asks God to honor the prayerful requests of foreigners; the request is unconditional. What does this tell us about the understanding of God’s relationship to non-Israelites?

What implications does this have for our own view of God, today? Why do we say that?

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In what ways does Solomon’s prayer resemble our own prayers – either individually, or collectively, like on a Sunday morning? In what ways does it not?

Some readers describe Solomon’s prayer as “a model prayer.” Would we, ourselves, describe this prayer as “a model prayer”? In general, or for our own prayer? Why, or why not?

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two young women conversing over a picket fence