A Prayer for Discerning Heart

1 Kings 3:9

“Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?”

This was Solomon’s prayer to God when he was told to inherit the throne of his father David to rule Israel as God’s appointed king.

Firstly, Solomon identified himself as God’s servant in his prayer before God. He humbled before the great God by referring to himself as “thy servant”. Solomon’s humility was evident also because he regards Israel very highly as God’s people. He referred to them as “thy people” and “thy so great a people”.

Secondly, Solomon acknowledged that his responsibility as a king was “to judge” God’s people, and to “discern between good and bad” as he judged them. Hence, he asked for an understanding heart to judge God’s people.

The word translated as “understanding” comes from the Hebrew term (shome’) which can also be translated as “hearing”. Throughout the Old Testament, the words “hearing” and “obedient” were often intertwined. In effect, what Solomon was asking for was the ability to “obey” what God had said in His Word, and then to be able to distinguish between good and evil for the good of the Lord’s people.

Let us also pray that in all our areas of responsibility, we will do all things for the good of God’s people around us. May the Lord grant us a discerning heart that avoids all things which are not acceptable in the sight of God, and that fulfils all His good will for the benefit of His people.

Prabhudas Koshy