By David Faust
A cook in a college cafeteria taught me a memorable lesson about prayer. He said, “When I wake up in the morning, as soon as I open my eyes I say, ‘Dear Lord.’ And when I go to bed at night, before I fall asleep I say, ‘Thank you, Lord.’ That way, my whole day is wrapped in prayer.”
I used to see the biblical admonition to pray without ceasing as an almost impossible demand, but I am learning to view it in a positive light. Yes, the Bible says to “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), but that doesn’t mean locking ourselves in a prayer closet with our hands folded and our eyes closed. It means intentionally including God in our day-to-day lives, inviting him to participate in everything we do, consulting with him as our constant adviser. “Pray without ceasing” doesn’t mean, “Shut your eyes to the world.” It means, “Open your eyes to God’s presence in the world.”
Solomon’s Wide Worldview
Out of all the possible requests he could have voiced, the young king Solomon asked for wisdom, and in response “God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore” (1 Kings 4:29).
In Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, Solomon ruminated about great theological questions and their practical application. His intellectual interests extended to other branches of knowledge as well, including botany and biology. “He spoke about plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls. He also spoke about animals and birds, reptiles and fish” (v. 33). Solomon was keenly inquisitive about everything God created. His worldview encompassed the natural and the supernatural, plants and animals, human beings and how they behave.
When we see the world this way, it makes us curious, careful, and creative. Curious, because through telescopes and microscopes we want more glimpses of God’s creative genius. Careful, because “the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it” (Psalm 24:1); so we are stewards—caretakers of God’s property. Creative, for God designed us to be visionaries who see new possibilities and make new things.
Solomon expressed his worldview in the literature and music he wrote. “He spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five” (1 Kings 4:32). When we paint a picture, compose a song, plan and cook a delicious meal, or design and build a building (as Solomon did with his own palace and with God’s temple), we express the creative impulse the Creator placed within the human heart.
Praise Spilling Over
After completing the temple, Solomon assembled the people in Jerusalem for a dedication service. Kneeling with his hands spread out toward Heaven, he uttered one of the longest prayers mentioned in Scripture (1 Kings 8:22-53). He had learned a lot about God and God’s world, and now his praise spilled over in public worship.
Albert Einstein wrote, “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He . . . who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead—his eyes are closed.”
Worship together as the church body is more fulfilling when we have noticed God’s fingerprints throughout the week. Maltbie D. Babcock said it well: “This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought of rocks and trees, of skies and seas, his hand the wonders wrought.”
1. Where do you see God’s fingerprints in your everyday world?
2. In what ways are you curious, careful, and creative with the things God has given you?
David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The Lookout’s Bible Reading Plan for June 7, 2015
Use this guide to read through the Bible in 12 months. Follow David Faust’s comments on the highlighted text in every issue of The Lookout.
1 Kings 4, 5
1 Kings 6, 7
1 Kings 8
1 Kings 9, 10
1 Kings 11
1 Kings 12