Daily D – 1 Kings 8:58
May he give us the desire to do his will in everything and to obey all the commands, decrees, and regulations that he gave our ancestors 1 KINGS 8:58 (NLT)
Parents do well in teaching their small children simple prayers. One of the All-Time Great children’s prayers is this one:
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep;
Guide me safely through the night,
And wake me with the morning light.
Another version of this prayer says it this way:
Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray to God my soul to take.
If I should live for other days,
I pray the Lord to guide my ways.
Psalm 4:8 may well have inspired these simple, memorable prayers. It reads,
In peace I will lie down and sleep,
For you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe.
That’s a pretty good prayer for troubled minds and restless nights.
One of the first prayers I learned says this:
God is great. God is good.
Let us thank him for this food.
By his hands we all are fed.
Give us, Lord, our daily bread. Amen.
Of all the prayers we teach our children, maybe we need to add one more. We find it here tucked inside one of the greatest prayers ever prayed. It is a masterpiece we can learn from and use to form our own prayers. Solomon and Israel were dedicating the Temple. He prayed a long prayer beginning in v. 23 which continued to v. 53. Notice the shift in vv. 54-58:
When Solomon finished making these prayers and petitions to the LORD, he stood up in front of the altar of the LORD, where he had been kneeling with his hands raised toward heaven. He stood and in a loud voice blessed the entire congregation of Israel: “Praise the LORD who has given rest to his people Israel, just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the wonderful promises he gave through his servant Moses. May the LORD our God be with us as he was with our ancestors; may he never leave us nor abandon us. May he give us the desire to do his will in everything and to obey all the commands, decrees, and regulations that he gave our ancestors.”
Solomon kneeled before God and he stood before the people. He began by praising God for who he is. He expressed thanksgiving for how God had fulfilled his promises. He asked God to be with them as he was with those who came before them. Then he prayed for God-shaped desires. He asked God to help them want what God wanted for them.
What God wants is good and loving. It builds up. It increases courage. It provides health and peace and a life characterized by good works and filled with good things.
Maybe a good prayer sounds something like
Our Father in heaven,
I want what you want for me.
Whatever you desire for me is what I desire for myself.
However you want me to love and serve others is what I will do.
I belong to you.
Admittedly, it does not sing like those earlier, time-honored prayers above. Take it and improve it for your own use. Take Solomon’s words in v 58 and use them to guide your thoughts as you pray your own personal prayer. When we pray using God’s words recorded for us like this, we pray God’s will. This is something he always approves. These are the kinds of prayers he always answers better than we ask.
I will pray for God-shaped desires.
Our Father, whatever you want, that is what I want, too. Amen.
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2 Timothy 2:3-6 Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor. (NLT)