David is par excellence the king “after God’s own heart,”
the shepherd who prays for his people and prays in their name.
His submission to the will of God, his praise, and his repentance,
will be a model for the prayer of the people. His prayer, the prayer
of God’s Anointed, is a faithful adherence to the divine promise
and expresses a loving and joyful trust in God, the only King and
In the Psalms David, inspired by the Holy Spirit, is the first
prophet of Jewish and Christian prayer. The prayer of Christ, the
true Messiah and Son of David, will reveal and fulfill the meaning
of this prayer.
The Temple of Jerusalem, the house of prayer that David
wanted to build, will be the work of his son, Solomon. The prayer
at the dedication of the Temple relies on God’s promise and cove
nant, on the active presence of his name among his People, recall
ing his mighty deeds at the Exodus.
The king lifts his hands
toward heaven and begs the Lord, on his own behalf, on behalf of
the entire people, and of the generations yet to come, for the
forgiveness of their sins and for their daily needs, so that the
nations may know that He is the only God and that the heart of his
people may belong wholly and entirely to him.
Elijah, the prophets and conversion of heart
For the People of God, the Temple was to be the place of
their education in prayer: pilgrimages, feasts and sacrifices, the
evening offering, the incense, and the bread of the Presence
(“shewbread”)—all these signs of the holiness and glory of God
Most High and Most Near were appeals to and ways of prayer.
But ritualism often encouraged an excessively external worship.
The people needed education in faith and conversion of heart; this
was the mission of the prophets, both before and after the Exile.
Elijah is the “father” of the prophets, “the generation of
those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob.”
Elijah’s name, “The Lord is my God,” foretells the people’s cry in
response to his prayer on Mount Carmel.
St. James refers to Elijah
in order to encourage us to pray: “The prayer of the righteous is
powerful and effective.”