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1 Chronicles 17:7–15 ‘I declare to you that the LORD will build a house for you: when your days are over and you go to be with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom.’ (vv10b–11)

Our prayer is limited by our mortality. We see in part only (1 Cor. 12:9—10), whilst God is the beginning and end of all (Rev. 22:13). So our prayer is constrained by the limitations of our earthbound vision and understanding. Here King David is restrained in his ambition to build God’s house. Whilst the ambition is indeed godly, the timing for its execution lies in the future. This is not something for David, but for his successor. Our instincts can be right, yet without the seasoning of God’s Spirit we may act outside of God’s eternal purpose.

Prayer, individually and collectively, is essential to ensure that we are collaborating with God’s Spirit in realising His purpose. In our age of personality, where image and branding appear to offer the substance of the promise, we are in danger of building castles in the sky that have no enduring legacy within God’s call. David accepts Nathan’s intervention and humbles himself before God, aware that the future lies in His hands alone. David is simply a momentary instrument in God’s plan. It is with humility that we are to approach God’s throne in prayer, mindful that our only significance lies in the degree to which we are yielded to God. As Isaac the Syrian said, ‘The highest form of prayer is to stand silently in awe before God’. Through prayer we make ourselves available to God, and submit our instincts to serve God’s purpose in our life and work.

SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Deut. 6:4–19; Jer. 23:25–32; John 9:1–12; Acts 20:25–38.

AN ACTION TO TAKE: How do you react to the word humility? Can you practise humility in daily life in your relationship with others?

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, When I want to be first teach me how to be a willing servant of all. Amen.’ (Mark 9:35)

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.