Prevailing Prayer

"And King Solomon gave to 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 desires receive an answer to the full satisfaction of the suppliant, but from the king's bounty she received abundantly more than she asked or thought. It is thus that our exalted Lord would treat us, and it is for the glory of His great name and for our good that He should so treat us, and there is no hindrance on His side.

King Solomon is a type of our Lord Jesus Christ in His exaltation and glory, and the steps by which the Ethiopian queen arrived at the desired goal is illustrative of the way in which we may know the unstinted giving of the One who is infinitely greater than Solomon.

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

She heard his fame; this is the first step, for "faith comes by hearing" and "how shall they believe except they hear." But many are satisfied with hearing, some even bear and profess to believe the Gospel of God, but seem satisfied with that, they say that their "sins are forgiven for His name sake" and that heaven is their destiny, but they do not seem to desire to become personally and intimately acquainted with the One who died for their redemption. Their hearts are in the world, and it is to be gravely questioned whether they are the Lord's or not, He knows, but they would do well to take to heart those solemn words "ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is an enemy of God" (Jas. 4:4).

As the queen of Sheba desired to see the One whose fame had reached her, so the one who truly believes the Gospel will not be satisfied with its statements merely (blessed as these are) but his soul will be filled with desires after Christ, and at all costs will seek to know Him, for nothing but Christ's company can satisfy the heart that has come under His attractive power. The question of the first disciples "Master where dwellest Thou?" will rise from heart and lip.

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

The queen had many difficulties from which the wisdom of her own land could by no means relieve her; she brought these to Solomon and unburdened her heart to him, and lo, the questions were answered and all the problems solved, according to the God-given wisdom that dwelt in him. It is even thus when the heart turns to Christ. He is made to us wisdom, and becomes the solution for us of all the problems that confront us because of sin. There are hard questions in most hearts at some time or other; questions as to sins, sin, self, the past, the present, and the future. To all who are burdened and labouring beneath the weight of such questions, He says: "Come to me … and I will give you rest." How blessed to lay our burdens and perplexities at His feet, and take up His burden instead, for "His yoke is easy, and His burden is light." When we come to Him simply and trustfully, having the eye single, then the whole body shall be full of light, and our path be clear and plain before us.

With her mind relieved of her own difficulties, the queen was free to behold Solomon's wisdom and glory manifested in every detail of his surroundings, until there was "no more spirit left in her."

She was entranced with his greatness and had to exclaim, "the half was not told me." Under the influence of his magnificence she made her requests, and we may be sure that the burden of her petitions was that she might show to her people how great he was in whose presence she had been.

In this we see the true condition of heart for prevailing prayer. The heart first set free from all difficulties and the burdens of self-occupation, to be Christ-centred and filled with the glory of His greatness. To have Him eclipse self and every other object is the acme of Christian blessing; this will be the glory of our heaven.

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

But the more this is true of us, now, the more truly shall we 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" (John 14:13).

It was charged on some of old that "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 this folly if we are near to the Lord, for there we shall learn the exceeding wealth of His giving, and we shall ask.

We shall be guided in our asking by the knowledge of Himself, who is wisdom and truth, and we shall not ask amiss. We shall have our souls so entranced by what He is that we shall not desire to consume it upon ourselves, but will gladly say, All for Him, "in all things He must have the pre-eminence."

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

She went to make much of Solomon in the land from whence she came, and in like manner it is the Christian's privilege to witness for Christ in this world, and it is in connection with this witnessing that prayer is so indispensable.

It will be well to emphasize the fact that the world is not the Christian's own country. We have exchanged self for Christ, and the world for heaven. Our citizenship is there, and from thence we look for the Saviour; and it is only as the heart glows with a holy and heavenly patriotism that we shall be truly able to witness in the world, which, though not "our own country," is the place for our testimony to go forth — testimony to an earth-rejected but heaven-exalted Christ.

As we pray that His name may thus be glorified, our prayers will be answered and our joy full (John 16:24).