Solomon’s Prayer of Dedication

Read: 1 Kings 8:22-30

But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, much less this house that I have built! (v. 27)

When an ocean liner or aircraft carrier is dedicated, a dignified official smashes a bottle of champagne against the side of the ship. This dedication looked a little different. When King Solomon dedicated the temple in Jerusalem in all its glorious splendor, he stood before the altar of the Lord and prayed a very long prayer. It was a prayer of such detail and texture that it offered a good match for the stunning architecture and ornamentation of the temple itself.

Solomon’s dedication prayer was an exhaustive recounting of the faithfulness of God in the past, and an urgent request for God to continue such gracious faithfulness in the future. Picture the king, arms spread out before the Lord, standing up before the altar in front of the temple. The prayer goes on and on. His arms grow weary. But still the prayer continues.

When we stand before the Lord and recall all the mercies of God in our lives, our prayers could be just as long and detailed. Our lives, our families, our congregations can all be the “temples” we dedicate to God out of thanks and gratitude. Consider the prayer of dedication that you can pray, and God’s faithfulness that you can recount. —Leanne VanDyk

Prayer: O Lord, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and steadfast love for your servants. (v. 23)

About the Author

Leanne Van Dyk is a Reformed theologian and theological educator. She has focused much of her work on atonement theology and the development of theological education. She is the tenth president of Columbia Theological Seminary.