June 1 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Now, my God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.” ~2 Chronicles 6:40

I enjoy visiting old churches when I travel. Some of the more memorable places of worship I have seen include Notre Dame (Paris), Basilica of the Sacred Heart (Paris), San Marco (Venice), St. Giles Cathedral (Edinburgh), St. Paul’s (London), Westminster (London), Ely Cathedral (Ely, UK), St. Patrick’s Cathedral (Dublin), and Sagrada Familia (Barcelona). I can wile away hours in old churches gazing with wonder at the beauty of their architecture. I have found that the hush and splendor of these buildings makes them great places to pray. More than once I have settled onto a bench or found a secluded corner to pray for my family and those I love.

Solomon’s Temple was an ancient architectural achievement on a grand scale. It was similar in scope to what you might see in a European cathedral. The temple was meant to impress, and it was a place of beauty inside and out. I have remarked in previous readings that the building of beautiful places of worship is rooted in our Judeo-Christian heritage, and here is some of that history. Somehow, image bearers find within themselves a desire to create beauty, whether in the stained glass of a Gothic cathedral or in the carved wooden cross hanging from the branch of an African date palm. We have always looked for places to gather in worship, and then we invariably embellish those spaces.

Whether we worship under flying buttresses or date palm branches, what is most important is what happens when we come together, we seek the face of God in prayer. In Solomon’s temple dedication prayer, he knelt and raised his hands to God asking for Him to hear the prayers of His people! “Now, my God, may your eyes be open, and your ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place” (2 Chron. 6:40). Whatever is requested, be it forgiveness, protection, encouragement, or comfort, Solomon asked God to hear and respond. The king even prayed for the foreigner, the person from outside the community, who might come to the place of worship with a need.

God is glorified not only when we praise Him but also when we PRAY to Him. As pastor-scholar John Piper put it, “We do not glorify God by providing his needs but by praying that he would provide ours.” So praise Him, and pray to Him now right where you. And bring those needs with you to the place of worship so that you can pray with the community for your good and His glory.

Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.