Raise Your Hands Toward Heaven
July 28, 2020
Have you ever considered that we as God’s children are so fortunate? We have literally been prayed over by biblical figures all throughout Scripture. In 1 Kings 8:22, Solomon, who was considered by God as the wisest man to ever live, brings an all-encompassing prayer to the Lord. Note his specific requests and the ground he covers as he prays:
Then Solomon stood before the alter of the Lord in front of the whole assembly of Israel, spread out his hands toward heaven and said, “Oh Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below, you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way…”
It’s important to notice that he spread out his hands toward heaven. This is mentioned several times throughout his prayer.
Whatever prayer or plea is made by any of your people (that would include us today), each one being aware of the afflictions of his own heart, and spreading out his hands toward heaven, hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive and act…
When your people go to war against their enemies, wherever You send them, and when they pray to the Lord toward the city You have chosen, in the temple I have built for Your name, then hear from heaven their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause.
When Solomon had finished all these prayers and supplications to the Lord, he rose from before the alter of the Lord, where he had been kneeling with his hands spread out toward heaven…
As I was reading this chapter today it occurred to me that Solomon’s prayer is a beautiful example placed before us to not just be blessed by, but also to emulate. Solomon includes all the attributes of a powerful, ground-moving prayer. As already noted, King Solomon prayed with his arms held high to heaven. It’s interesting that the raised hands are mentioned so often. If you break his prayer apart you will notice that he begins with praise and worship of his mighty God. He then reminds God of the many promises He has kept to His servants in the past. He speaks to the Lord confidently yet with humility, assuming God hears his prayers. Solomon also makes reference to the sins of God’s servants, confessing them and pleading for mercy and forgiveness on their behalf, that they will turn their hearts toward Him and keep His commands.
This form of intercessory prayer for God’s children is extremely vital for us today. It could mean all the difference in the future of our great nation. When referencing how often Solomon prayed with outstretched arms, I can’t help but reflect on the many times I personally have done this. I hope this doesn’t sound self-righteous, but I earnestly desire to share what a tremendous blessing God gives back to us when we pray in this way, whether it is praying over my entire family while looking at their portraits on the walls, or praying for the protection of my home and all who enter it, or even praying for my community. I think of multiple hikes I’ve been on when my friends and I reach a peak that overlooks our valley; we stand together with arms stretched out towards the valley praying over it!
When some dear friends and I volunteered to go to Sacramento to lobby against some very evil legislation, our hotel room had a window which overlooked the beautiful state capital building. The three of us got down on our knees in front of that window and prayed with outstretched arms towards the capital building. We prayed against the evil that takes place there. We prayed for God’s hand of mercy on our state, for righteousness to once again reign. As much as we would like to see immediate change, I am comforted in the hope that the effects of our prayers will be seen in future generations.
But back to Solomon and the portion of his prayer where he prayed for us….1 Kings 8:59 says, “And may these words of mine, which I have prayed before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, that He may uphold the cause of His servant and the cause of His people Israel according to each day’s need.”
Folks, this prayer didn’t stop and end in Solomon’s time. Our prayers today do not stop and end today. They have a lingering ripple effect into our future, just as King Solomon’s prayers did. This brings me so much confidence for our cause, and the dreams we have for our country. King Solomon prayed God would bring us what we need when we need it, and that those specific words would be near the Lord’s heart day and night. I don’t know about you, but that gives me much hope for the days that lie ahead!
It’s been said that “God’s gifts and blessings never come before the day, they never come after the day. He gives punctually, and always administers the right medicine for the current ailment!” I love that!
May my prayer be counted as incense before you, the lifting up of my hands as the evening offering.
Hear the voice of my supplications when I cry to you for help, when I lift my hands toward your holy sanctuary.
1 Timothy 2:8
I desire then that in every plea the men should pray lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling.
Our prayer lives are such an expression and unique extension of our God-created personalities within us. Some of us are more reserved, and some of us are bolder than others. We may be very expressive, or perhaps quieter, yet God sets all kinds of biblical figures throughout His word to give us examples to live by.
All prayer is powerful, but I have found for myself that if I hold nothing back, if I show the Lord honor by being on my knees, by expressing my love and worship with arms held high, presenting my requests, it takes me to another level. Not that it causes the Lord to hear me more clearly, but it causes my prayers to be more intentional, more heartfelt. And when I’m done praying this way, it leaves me with a mindset that I have laid it ALL down, which then fills my heart with an attitude of peaceful confidence. Aren’t we all longing for more of that today?
Our sweet Heavenly Father longs to keep His promises. Our part is to come uninhibited and He will do the rest!
Delighting in safe pasture,