When King Solomon had finished building the temple, God appeared to him the second time, and told him that He had heard his prayer. He had consecrated the temple and put His name there forever, His eyes and His heart would be there perpetually.
What was the reason God listened to Solomon’s prayer? Perhaps that could serve as a reflection to our own prayers, to check if our prayers are pleasing God. Refer back to Solomon’s prayer in 1 Kings 8. Instead of appraising about how glorious or magnificent the physical temple is, he prayed that the temple would serve the right purpose and the will of God.
This temple is the house of prayer (8: 28), a place where people seek God’s judgment (8: 31, 32), a place where they confess their sins and repent (8: 33), and, a place where the gentiles would come to seek and pray to God (8: 41-43).
However, God’s promise does not guarantee the success of a disobedient Israel. Should they turn away from God’s commandments and statues again, this temple, though great and exalted, shall be cast out of God’s sight. People who pass by it will be astonished and say, “Why has the LORD done thus to this land and to this house?”
Likewise, God’s promise does not excuse us from being disobedient. Hence, when affliction comes, instead of questioning God about why He has allowed this to happen to us, let us examine any sins or iniquities found within us and pray to God for forgiveness.
“…When their enemies besieges them in the land of their cities… Whatever prayer, whatever supplication is made by anyone, or by all Your people Israel…spread out his hands towards this temple… then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive, and act, and give to everyone according to all his ways..” (1 Kings 8: 37-39)
This prayer of Solomon reminds me of God’s broken-hearted words in Ezek 22: 30.
“So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.”
This is why, Abraham and Moses prayed for the perishing people and God listened to them. God seems to be very reluctant to banish His own people, that if there is only one person (possibly a just man) who made an earnest intercession, He would relent and stop His punishment.
As for us in our prayers, how many of us remember to pray for the church and the perishing souls?