Even though I wasn't totally focused on prayer while we were away, I did sneak in a little study time and found a few nuggets in Solomon's prayer at the dedication of the temple. It's found in 1 Kings 8:22-53 and 2 Chronicles 6:12-42.
There are two things that stuck out in my mind in this prayer. One is that Solomon was very concerned about God hearing the people. He seemed to take it for granted that God's people would mess up. He wanted to be sure that IF the people turned their hearts to God, God would listen to them. I love his words in 1 Kings 8:30, "May you hear the humble and earnest requests from me and your people Israel when we pray toward this place. Yes, hear us from heaven where you live, and when you hear, forgive." Sometimes prayer is all about our hearts returning to God. Sin gets in the way and keeps us from knowing God. Sin breaks fellowship. Prayer reconnects us. But it's not just the words we say, it's our attitude. Our humbleness and our earnestness are important. When I come to God, how do I come? Do I seek forgiveness and restore the connection with Him? Do I come humbly and earnestly? Do I take into account the majesty of God- His holiness, His grandeur?
The second thing that struck me is connected to that last question. The prayers of the people are directed to the temple. Why is that? Surely the temple was a visual reminder to the people of God's holiness and awesomeness. Praying toward the temple was a reminder of the wonder of a God who would stoop down to a spot on earth and listen to His people. And that very same God is the One who bends down to hear me when I pray. God is truly amazing! May He find my heart humble, earnest, and reverent as I seek Him in prayer.