Friday, September 10, 2010

A FOCUSED PRAYER

I knew the Islamic faith had many times during the day when they called upon their members to face Mecca, bow, and pray, but I did not know there was any such similarity within Judaism.

Evidently, the history of the Jews "praying toward..." was important enough to have documented twice.  1 Kings 8:22-53 and 2 Chronicles 6:12-42 are the same account - Solomon's Prayer of Dedication (Temple).  When Solomon prays he asks the Lord, God of Israel, to hear the prayers prayed when the people pray a certain way - toward the location of their focus.  Their attention is where the Ark of the Covenant resides - in the temple on top of Mt. Moriah where Solomon is giving this Prayer of Dedication. 

There is no mention of bowing, just facing the direction of who should be their passion.  There is also no mention that this is a command, but what I get from Ezra's (2 Chronicles 6) recording of Solomon's words is a cultural practice of respect.

Solomon prayed to God that when his people "pray toward this... place (vv.20, 21, 26), temple (vv.29, 32, 34, 38), city (34, 38), and land (v.38)" that God would hear and act.  A mind that is focused, a spirit that is focused, a body that is focused, and a prayer that is therefore focused to the Lord, God of Israel.