Thoughts About What We’re Reading…
One of the most vivid memories in my life happened in the spring of 2005. My wife, Barb, and I traveled to Israel as a part of a guided tour. Each night at the hotel, the guide would walk us through the expected tour for the following morning.
At this point in the tour we had arrived in Jerusalem for a few days and I was ready to see the grand old city!
This particular night, the guide explained we would be going to the temple mount area the next day – the location of the famous Western Wall and the Southern Steps to the Temple area.
I knew the temple had been destroyed in the year 70, but I was excited about visiting the Southern Steps, as I knew Jesus would have been in that area accessing the Temple and tradition holds He taught from those steps.
The other site, the Western Wall, is located in the Old City of Jerusalem at the foot of the western side of the Temple Mount.
Parts of the wall are remnants of the ancient wall that surrounded the Jewish Temple‘s courtyard, and is considered by the many the most sacred site recognized by the Jewish faith outside of the Temple Mount itself.
Our guide explained that it was the custom to write a prayer out on a scrap of paper when visiting and praying at the wall, then roll up the prayer and stick it in the crevice in the wall. Periodically the slips of paper were collected and buried in Israel because it was against Jewish religious law to destroy them.
So Barb and I jointly prepared a prayer for the next day.
Our guide told me that many of the Jewish people read and pray over Psalms when at the Wall. So, I decided I would read our prayer out loud from the piece of paper and bring my Bible to read out loud the 23rd Psalm.
The next morning, we came to the Southern Steps and I was in awe. I was walking and standing where Jesus stood!
We were given some quiet time at the steps and, as is my custom, I grabbed my journal and Bible for a little quiet time. I was following a reading plan much like we are doing today in the church and my regular reading for the day was a few chapters in I Kings.
As I turned to I Kings Chapter 8, I came to the section of scripture where King Solomon dedicated the Temple. The reading was not pre-planned by me but ordained, I believe, by God. For here in this passage I read through Solomon’s prayer.
As I turned to verses 41-43, my heart skipped, for in this section Solomon prays for the foreigner, not of the people of Israel, who has come from a distant land, because of His great name – Solomon cries out to God to hear the foreigner’s prayer!
That was me! I was the foreigner who was about to go to the Western Wall and pray to my God and leave my prayer there in the wall.
I trembled as I prayed at the Wall, read aloud the Psalm and placed the prayer Barb and I had written out the night before in a crevice in the wall. We had written out a prayer for our family – mainly our children.
I still watch the working out of that prayer today.
It is said in Jerusalem that all prayers are local calls, everywhere else it is long distance!
If you have already read through Solomon’s prayer in I Kings Chapter 8 when you read this, I encourage you to read it again. This is a prayer you can turn to over and over again as I have. It is a perfect model of how and what to pray for.
Until next time… Keep reading!