At the dedication of the temple, Solomon prayed until he had finished praying. He neither prayed too briefly, nor too long – he prayed until God released him. It used to be called “praying through.” It’s praying until we know we have laid hold of God. This type of praying produced some marvelous results.
2 Chronicles 7:1-3 – “Now when Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the house. The priests could not enter into the house of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s house. All the sons of Israel, seeing the fire come down and the glory of the Lord upon the house, bowed down on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave praise to the Lord, saying, Truly He is good, truly His lovingkindness is everlasting.”
As this had a spectacular response from heaven and among God’s people, so it will for us today. If we could persevere in prayer until we see a reaction from heaven it would revolutionize our lives, the church, and the world. Oh that we would return to the tarrying meetings of yesteryear when the church prayed until there was a reaction from heaven.
Two things preceded this reaction from heaven:
- Sacrifice. “Solomon and all the congregation, were sacrificing so many sheep and oxen that they could not be counted or numbered” (2 Chronicles 5:6). We understand the real significance of this when we read how much they sacrificed afterwards. After “The glory of the LORD filled the house” (V. 1), “King Solomon offered a sacrifice of 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep” (2 Chronicles 7:4). We may not offer animal sacrifices anymore, but there are some sacrifices that could be key factors in ushering in His glory as seen with Solomon. Below are a few sacrifices we can offer up to God:
- Time. Can you imagine how much time was involved in “sacrificing so many sheep and oxen that they could not be counted or numbered” (5:6)? And afterwards, “King Solomon offered a sacrifice of 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep” (7:4). There was inevitably a great amount of time involved. So there was the sacrifice of his time.
- Labor and service. There was, without a doubt, a lot of hard work involved in sacrificing all those sheep and oxen. We can offer up to God sacrificial service. Paul wrote, “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord” (Romans 12:11). Again the writer of Hebrews, “And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:11-12). Paul told the Philippians, “Even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith” (Philippians 2:17).
- Finances. It took a lot of money to buy all that live stock and offer that many sacrifices. We can give sacrificial offerings to God and those in need. Paul wrote, “Having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well- pleasing to God” (Philippians 4:18).
- Praise and thanksgiving. “By Him therefore, let us offer up the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15). You may be going through a time of discouragement and difficulty and simply don’t feel like worshiping. It’s in these times we are afforded the opportunity to “offer up the sacrifice of praise to God.”
- Souls. There is the sacrifice of souls offered up to God when we lead people to the Lord. “That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost” (Romans 15:16).
- Doing good and sharing. “Doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Hebrews 13:16). When we go out of our way to do good toward and share with those in need, it is a sacrifice with which God is well pleased.
- Brokenness. There are also times of brokenness. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise” (Psalms 51:17). “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).
- Solomon prayed until he had finished. “When Solomon had finished praying” (V. 1). How often do we finish praying? I’m not talking about praying a certain amount of time. I’m referring to praying until we’ve exhausted ourself – there is nothing more to pray and there is a release in our spirit.
It was when Solomon had finished praying that fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering, the glory of the Lord filled the house, and the people bowed down with their faces to the ground and worshiped the Lord. Do we ever really finish praying as Solomon did? We can pray for fifteen minutes, an hour, or even two hours, and possibly never finish praying. We must be determined that we are going to seek the face of God until we know we have reached God and it is enough – we have truly finished praying. The Holy Ghost has released us and our work is complete.
It’s not the amount of time that determines if we have prayed through but the Spirit of God. Solomon prayed until the Spirit of God had released him, he knew he was finished. Let’s not set a limit on our prayer time but pray until the Holy Ghost releases us. In our daily prayer time, if we will pray until we have finished, the results will manifest as they were at Solomon’s dedication of the temple.
When we truly pray until we have finished, there will be a reaction from heaven. When we have filled the heavenly alter with the incense of our prayers, things will begin to happen. We see a reaction from heaven as a result of the heavevly alter being filled with the prayers of the saints in Revelation 8:3-6. Similar manifestations took place in the upper room on the day of Pentecost after they had prayed for ten straight days (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5, 14, 2:1-4). What were the results of Solomon praying through?
Fire Came Down from Heaven
If we will pray until we have finished, we will find the fire of the Holy Ghost consuming us and our churches once again. When this happened on Pentecost 3,000 people were saved (Acts 2:41). If we pray until we have finished, we won’t need a lot of hype, special entertainment, donuts and coffee, advertisements, or long and eloquent sermons to fill our churches.
The fire of the Holy Ghost will fill them beyond our wildest dreams. When the fire of the Holy Spirit fell in Acts 2, Peter didn’t even have a chance to finish his sermon. People came in from the street, “pierced to the heart, and said, Brethren, what shall we do” (Acts 2:37)?
The Glory of the Lord Filled the House
If we will pray until we have finished, we will find the glory of God filling the church again. Most of us have not lived long enough to have experienced this or even know what it’s like. Many great men and women of God, who have experienced His glory, are passing off the scene.
1 Kings 8:10-11 – “And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord.”
Oh, that God would restore those days when men and women prayed until the glory of God filled God’s house, so much so that they can not continue to minister because of the thickness of His glory!
People Fell to the Ground and Worshiped
This was sincere, heart-felt worship. They were responding to what they had seen, felt and experienced. This was true worship, in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24). When we pray until we have finished, we will experience fire from heaven, the glory of the Lord, and our people will begin worshiping like never before. They won’t have to be worked up into an emotional frenzy to worship, they will worship naturally in response to a touch from heaven.
Let’s pray until we have finished!