Essential Points in Prayer
1 Kings 9:2-9
That the LORD appeared to Solomon the second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon.…

It was an exceedingly encouraging thing to Solomon that the Lord should appear to him before the beginning of his great work of building the temple. See in the third chapter of this First Book of the Kings, at the fifth verse, "In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee." I cannot forget when the Lord appeared unto me in Gibeon at the first. Truly there are things about the lives of Christian men that would not have been possible if God had not appeared to them at the beginning. If he had not strengthened and tutored them, and given them wisdom beyond what they possess in themselves; if he had not inspirited them. It is a priceless blessing to begin with God, and not to lay a stone of the temple of our life-work till the Lord has appeared unto us. I do not know, however, but that it is an equal, perhaps a superior, blessing for the Lord to appear to us after a certain work is done; even as in this case: "The Lord appeared to Solomon the second time, as He had appeared unto him at Gibeon." We want renewed appearances, fresh manifestations, new visitations from on high; and I commend to those of you who are getting on in life, that while you thank God for the past, and look back with joy to His visits to you in your early days, you now seek and ask for a second visitation of the Most High. All days in a palace are not days of banqueting, and all days with God are not so clear and glorious as certain special Sabbaths of the soul in which the Lord unveils His glory. Happy are we if we have once beheld His face; but happier still if He again comes to us in fulness of favour. I think that we should be seeking those second appearances: we should be crying to God most pleadingly that He would speak to us a second time.

I. OUR PROPER PLACE IN PRAYER. The Lord said, "I have heard thy prayer, and thy supplication, that thou hast made before Me." There is the place to pray — "before Me": that is to say, before the Lord. But we should take care that the place is hallowed by our prayer being deliberately and reverently presented before God.

1. This place is not always found. The Pharisee went up to the temple to pray, and yet, evidently, he did not pray "before God"; so that even in the most holy courts he did not find the place desired.

2. This blessed place "before God" can be found in public prayer. Solomon's prayer before God was offered in the midst of a great multitude.

3. But prayer before God can just as well be offered in private.

4. The prayer is to be directed to God.

5. We should endeavour in prayer to realise the presence of God.

II. OUR GREAT DESIDERATUM IN PRAYER. It is that which God said that He had given to Solomon. "I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication."

1. The first thing the soul desires in prayer is audience with God. If the Lord do not hear us, we have gained nothing. And what an honour it is to have audience with God!

2. But we Want more than that: we want that He should accept. It were a painful thing to be permitted to speak to a great friend, and then for him to stand austere and stern, and say, "I have heard what you have to say. Go your way." We ask not this of God.

3. Still, there is a third thing which we want, which God gave to Solomon, and that was an answer.

III. OUR ASSURANCE OF ANSWER TO PRAYER. Can we have an assurance that God has heard and answered prayer? Solomon had it. The Lord said unto him, "I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before Me." Does the Lord ever say that to us? I think so. Let us consider how He does so.

1. I think that He says it to us very often in our usual faith.

2. But sometimes you require strong confidence. You have to solicit some extraordinary blessing. You get to a place like that to which Jacob came, when common prayer was not sufficient.

3. Sometimes this comes in the form of a comfortable persuasion.

4. The Lord also gives to His people a manifest preparation for the blessing. He prepares them to receive it. Their expectation is raised, so that they begin to look out for the blessing, and make room for it; and when it is so, you may be sure that it is coming.

5. Actual observation also breeds in us a solid confidence that our suit is succeeding.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: That the LORD appeared to Solomon the second time, as he had appeared unto him at Gibeon.

WEB: that Yahweh appeared to Solomon the second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon.

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