In the light of yesterday’s reading you can now appreciate the significance of this prayer by Solomon. He saw the real need of the people of Israel. They needed their hearts and minds to be turned in the God-ward direction. Their lives needed to lean towards God. They needed their wills and desires to be pointing them towards God. God had chosen them as his own people, covenanted to be their God, and so Solomon prays that they will want to live God’s way. He was not praying for them to live rightly in order to be accepted by God, but rather that because God had chosen them, they would want to live to please him and obey his commands.
That is a radical transformation in a person’s outlook and understanding. It is a person saying ‘Because I am already loved I will choose to obey’, not ‘I will obey because I want to be loved.’
Hence the significance of this heartfelt prayer of Solomon. The presence of the Ark declared that God was among the people and that he had promised to care for them. Now, says Solomon, ‘May he give us the desire to do his will in everything and to obey all the commands, decrees, and regulations that he gave our ancestors.’
That is a prayer for today too. ‘Lord, you have accepted me and made me your own; please now transform my inner desires so that there is nothing more important for me than to obey your good purposes for me.’