My title tonight is simply, 'how to get more'. Isn't that what we really want? We say around our house when we eat something that we like. "That tastes like more!" One of the first words that most children learn is 'more'. I heard a fellow on the radio say, "This will not only give you more days in your life, it will give you more life in your days!" That sounds good doesn't it?
Since we have met here tonight to spend time in prayer and Bible study, I thought this would be an appropriate topic for this evening. How to get more than we ask for when we pray. We could look to many areas of the Bible and find that the Bible is a book of 'mores'. However since our time is limited this evening we want to look in the Old Testament and to the prayer of Solomon when he ascended to the throne.
Read: 1 Kings 3:5-14
"And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days." (1 Ki 3:13)
I. WE MUST ADMIT A NEED. v7
A. Before Solomon ever formulated a prayer with his lips, he confessed his great need.
1. He said: Here I am as King and I know nothing about ruling or judgment.
2. I don't even know protocol; I don't know how to go out or to come in.
B. We tend to be so satisfied with ourselves that when we honestly and humbly admit a need, God is especially pleased.
1. In fact, the thing that most often keeps us from experiencing God's greatest blessings is that we don't feel a need for them.
a. If we are to experience God's forgiveness we must admit our need for His forgiveness - I John 1:9
b. God's power is given to those who admit a need for it.
1) If we think we can do it in our own strength, God may just let us see how we can get along without Him.
2) Samson thought he had strength to do whatever he wanted to do. "And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him. But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house." (Judg 16:20-21)
3) They took him, put his eyes out, made him grind at the mill, and treated him like a circus freak.
4) At the last he came to the end of himself, admitted his weakness, and said: Lord, just this once remember me and give me your strength.
5) Samson was able to pull down the pillars of the theater and the whole house collapsed bringing the Philistines to their death.
c. The ability to pray successfully for the sick to be healed is conditioned upon the admission of our faults (to one another).
"Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." (James 5:16)
1) The Bible is saying that to be able to successfully pray for one another for physical healing
2) Is conditioned upon our willingness to confess our faults to one another.
d. The fullness of the Holy Spirit comes to those who admit a need for it.
1) We can't be filled with the Holy Spirit unless we are empty of self.
2) Jesus said, "If any man THIRST let him come unto me and drink. cf John 7:37b
3) Again He said, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for THEY shall be filled." cf Mt. 5:6
3. The first thing about Solomon's prayer that got God's attention was that he admitted a need.
II. WE MUST PRAY FOR THE RIGHT THING. v9-10
A. There are certain prayers the Lord is pleased to answer.
1. He is delighted when we pray for those things He already wants to give us.
2. In the New Testament we are given this promise:
"And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:" (1 John 5:14)
3. The prayer that God promises to answer is the prayer that is according to His will.
4. The same teaching is given to us in the model prayer when our Lord teaches us to pray to the father and say, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
5. So we need to study God's Word, and get in on what God is wanting to do.
6. We should ask for those things which are His will to do, and we'll get more than what we ask for.
B. What did Solomon ask for? Note: v9
1. He asked for an understanding heart - for wisdom to lead his people.
2. When we pray a prayer like that God is pleased.
3. He promises to answer a prayer like that.
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." (James 1:5)
C. The Lord was pleased that Solomon asked for that which would bring glory to God rather than some selfish request he could consume on his own lusts.
1. James also warns us about this.
"Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts." (James 4:3)
2. We need to listen carefully to this simple instruction, because it can revolutionize our prayer life.
3. When we pray for those things which it is His will to answer, and for those things that will bring glory to Him, He will give us more than we ask.
D. Note what God said to Solomon in v11-13. (Read verses)
1. I think that God must get so tired of hearing selfish prayers - gimme this, gimme that, gimme, gimme, gimme...
2. That when someone comes along who prays an unselfish prayer and asks for something that will bring glory to God, He is so pleased that He says: "I'm going to give him what he asks, but I'm also going to give him more than what He asks."
III. WE MUST USE WHAT IS GIVEN US. v14
A. Immediately after God had answered his prayer, Solomon was given the opportunity to use what God had just given him. v16- 27
1. You remember two women came to him who lived alone in the same house and who had given birth to their babies at approximately the same time.
2. One of the babies died in the night and they both claimed to be the mother of the living baby.
3. How could Solomon tell the difference? How could he know?
a. Nobody knew about blood tests back in those days.
b. But God had just given him wisdom - not so that he could be labeled the wisest man in the world, or so that the Queen of Sheba could tell everybody about this wise man.
c. But Solomon was given wisdom so he could use it in everyday need.
B. So you know the story.
1. Solomon said: Give the baby to me.
2. Bring me a sword. Since you can't decide whose it is, we will cut it in two and give a half to each mother.
3. One of the women said: That's okay with me. The other one said: Oh, no. Give her the living child.
4. And Solomon knew who was the real mother - the one who had compassion on the child.
"And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment." (1 Ki 3:28)
C. We are given spiritual gifts.
1. Not so people can say, 'This is a person of power, or this is a person of holiness, or this person has reached that level of spiritual development .
2. Our prayers are answered and we are given spiritual gifts in order that we might use the spiritual endowment for the glory of God.
3. AND... if we do not use that which has been given to us for the glory of God, it may be taken away from us.
4. Solomon used his God-given wisdom for all the Kingdom, it seems except in his own personal life.
IV. WE MUST CONTINUE TO DEPEND ON GOD FOR WHAT HE GIVES.
A. God does not give us one dose of wisdom that's going to last you a lifetime.
1. We have to daily depend on God for His wisdom.
2. He doesn't give you one shot of power and we're never going to run out.
3. There must be a daily appropriation of God's power to be used for His glory.
B. The book of I Kings goes on chapter after chapter telling of the wisdom and honor given to Solomon and of the tremendous wealth and power that came to the kingdom.
C. It is an amazing account, but then we come to I Kings 11.
1. Note: I Kings 11:1-4
2. Note: I Kings 11:9-11
3. Solomon made two great mistakes that brought tragedy to him and to the kingdom.
a. First, he did not use the wisdom of God in his own personal life.
b. He quit depending on God.
If WE could just go back to when we first met the Lord and fell in love with Him.
If we could just go back to that child-like faith and walk in daily dependence on Him.
If we could keep on in that first love and in simple faith and in joy in serving the Lord, then we could keep on receiving His blessings and walking in His power.
Then we will have your prayers answered and so much more!