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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Praying at the Wall

You can see some of the prayers of the faithful in the spaces between the stones that remain from Herod’s renovation of the temple that Solomon built. I associate the practice with 2 Kgs 19:14 where Hezekiah takes a letter the temple and spreads it before God.
I prayed at the Wall today. It was the third time. I have done so on each visit. Each time it takes my breath away and moves me to tears. The holiness of the place is palpable. Some of the the locals have a saying, “that in Jerusalem prayer is a local call.” I don’t doubt that God is everywhere and with me and within me wherever I go. And at the same time, God is present in this place in a very special way. Solomon’s prayer says it for me:
1 Kings 8:27 “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, much less this house that I have built! 28 Regard your servant’s prayer and his plea, Holy One my God, heeding the cry and the prayer that your servant prays to you today; 29 that your eyes may be open night and day toward this house, the place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ that you may heed the prayer that your servant prays toward this place. 30 Hear the plea of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place; O hear in heaven your dwelling place; heed and forgive...
1 Kings 8:41 “Likewise when a foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, comes from a distant land because of your name 42 —for they shall hear of your great name, your mighty hand, and your outstretched arm—when a foreigner comes and prays toward this house, 43 then hear in heaven your dwelling place, and do according to all that the foreigner calls to you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and so that they may know that your name has been invoked on this house that I have built.”

I am the foreigner, one of many, for whom Solomon prayed, though he did not know it.

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