Prevailing Prayer (2)

"And King Solomon gave unto the Queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty; so she turned and went to her own country" (1 Kings 10:13).

No more successful prayer than this has been placed on record, for not only did the suppliant receive an answer to her full satisfaction, but out of his royal bounty the king gave her more than she could ask or think. Greater than Solomon and more liberal in His giving is our Lord, and this Ethiopian queen, by her coming to Solomon, shows us how needy folk may come to Him, whether they are sinners or saints, and no matter how far they have lived from Him, and be enriched beyond their best expectations and in turn enrich others. It is an interesting and instructive story.

She "heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the Name of the Lord" (v. 1).

She heard of his fame; this is the first step, for "faith cometh by healing, " and it is faith that puts the soul in motion towards the Lord, and, "how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard." But there are some who hear and are unmoved; they do not believe. The story of the glory of the great Lord and Redeemer of men is to them as a tale that is told; they are like the people who lived during the Lord's life on earth; they heard with unhearing ears, and did not heed the words of wisdom that flowed from His lips; they would not come to Him that they might have life. Like them we must not be, or this Queen of the South will rise up in judgment against us. Having heard of Solomon, nothing would satisfy her but she must see him, and become acquainted with him. Moreover, there were many baffling problems in her life and kingdom, which her wise men could not solve; she felt that Solomon could. Her very needs urged her to go to him.

"She came to prove him with hard questions" (v. 1).

She was not disappointed, for as she unburdened her heart to him, he answered with God-given wisdom. All her difficulties disappeared, for "Solomon told her all her questions; there was not anything hid from the king that he told her not." It is even thus when the heart turns to Christ; and to whom can we go but to Him? He is the wisdom of God, and is made wisdom to us, and He has the words of eternal life. He only can solve our problems. Have we wrestled with those great problems concerning our sins, our sinful self, our past, our present, our future? Do questions as to our relations with God and our fellow-men disturb our tranquillity and burden our spirits? He has said, "Come unto me . . . I will give you rest". What a relief it is to lay our burdens at His feet, and to place ourselves there and learn of Him. This is no mystical, unreachable, imaginary theory; it is real, and thousands can testify to its reality. It is the knowledge of Christ, and the entrance of the Word of Christ into the heart, that gives the peace of Christ in view of all difficulties.

When the Queen's mind was relieved of all its questions she was able to consider Solomon and his wisdom and his works. And so great did she find him to be, and so wonderful the wisdom of his works, that there was no more spirit left in her, and she exclaimed:

"Mine eyes had seen it; and behold, the half was not told me" (v. 7).

She was entranced with his greatness, and it was under the influence of his royal splendour that she made her requests. It is a great day when the soul reaches this point in regard to Christ; when the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus the Lord breaks first upon the soul; when it is set free from a profitless self-occupation and from all its harassing questions, to be Christ-centred and filled with the glory of His greatness. Why, this will be our heaven in heaven!

"For ever our still wondering eyes
  Shall o'er His beauties rove
To endless ages we'll adore
  The riches of His love!"

This is the one true condition of heart for prevailing prayer. It is when Christ and His glory controls us that we shall pray in His Name and "whatsoever ye shall ask in My Name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." It was charged against some, "Ye have not because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts" (Jas. 4:2-3). We shall not be guilty of such folly as that, if the glory of the Lord fills our souls; for no man could seek His glory and the gratification of his own lusts at the same time. If we are near to Him we shall know the wealth of His giving and we shall ask. We shall be guided in our asking by our knowledge of Him, and we shall not ask amiss. We shall desire only that He may be magnified and we shall not desire to consume what we expect from Him upon our lusts.

"She turned and went to her own country" (v. 13).

She went to spread Solomon's fame in her own land and to show the benefits of acquaintance with him by the great gifts he had given her. And in like manner it is the Christian's privilege to witness for Christ in the world, and it is in connection with this witnessing that prayer is indispensable. We can understand how this dusky Ethiopian woman would say "O king, I am returning to my people, they know nothing of your greatness. Give to me that which will show to them the truth as to it, that I may show it to them." The king could not refuse such a request as that. And will the Lord refuse our prayers if we pray in such a spirit and to such an end? Nay, He will give to us all that we desire, whatsoever we ask, and He will do more, He will do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, for this is His royal bounty. And to Him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.