Chapter 1. Solomon: Praying with God’s Values

1 Kings 3

“Hello, Mary? I need a listening ear. Do you have time?”

Haltingly, I poured out my disappointment and sorrow about a problem that had been plaguing me for days. Mary made sympathetic noises, offered a few corrective comments, and promised to pray. The situation went unchanged. Yet, as the day progressed, I felt the cloud of sadness lift. I knew Mary was praying. And God, in his generosity, was granting the requests of her prayer.

Why had I chosen Mary—because she was approachable? Partly. But more because I knew her spiritual walk. It was carefully metered by Christlike patterns. And because she was comfortable with prayer, her prayers were specific and to the point. Like her spiritual walk, her prayers seemed closely matched to God's values.

Group Discussion. If you wanted someone to pray for you, who would you call? Why would you choose that person?

Personal Reflection. Take a quick mental assessment of your current practice of prayer. How would you grade yourself: A, B, C, or D? Why?

The first day of school, the first line of a sermon, the first page of a book—first impressions are important. Read 1 Kings 3:1-15.

  1. What were some of Solomon's actions in the early years of his reign (vv. 1-5)?
    If you had been in Solomon's sandals, what might you be thinking or asking at this point?
  2. What do Solomon's actions in this setting suggest about his character?
  3. Solomon answered God's question with a prayer (vv. 6-9). What does Solomon's prayer suggest about his attitude toward himself, his job, and his God?
  4. What did God promise Solomon (vv. 10-15)?
  5. What conditions did God attach to granting Solomon a long life?
  6. How would you describe a discerning heart (or mind)?
  7. Think of one of your current responsibilities that seems a bit too large for you. What would you like to ask of God in that area?
  8. What should you ask of God?
  9. Read 1 Kings 3:16-28. Imagine yourself as a bystander in King Solomon's court. What emotions would you feel during the different stages of the hearing?
  10. Do you agree that Solomon's method of judgment was wise? Why or why not?
  11. In what specific ways did God answer Solomon's prayer of verses 7-9?
  12. How might you begin to bring your prayers more into line with God's values?

Think of one person who particularly needs a discerning mind right now. Pray one or two sentences asking God’s help for that person.

Now or Later

Before God, consider one of your own responsibilities that seems beyond your capability, and ask God for “a wise and discerning heart.”