Praying for Discernment
At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask what I should give you.” And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today. And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?”
It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you.” ~ I Kings 3:5-12
Wouldn't it be great if all leaders prayed as Solomon? Well, not just leaders...but all people.
To ask for a discerning mind?
We know Solomon as the king who was wise. (Of course, Solomon didn't always live up to his reputation. He could get a little to carried away with his desire for the other Ws: women and wealth).
What is it to discern something? According to the dictionary it is the ability to judge well, or to comprehend something that is obscure.
And specifically in a Christian context it is "perception in the absence of judgment with a view to obtaining spiritual guidance and understanding." (Oxford Dictionary)
Most of us as human beings tend to leap to judgment about things or people. We often think answers are clear and simple.
But to have a discerning mind, as well as heart, means being willing to go deep. To not take things at face value. To see beyond the surface.
To have a discerning mind means spending time with God: praying, meditating, listening.
Being open to something beyond our own understanding.
Like Solomon, we don't always live up to our call to be discerning. But like him, we can continue to pray for a mind and heart that are open.
Open my mind and my heart to your wisdom, Holy One! Amen