Prayer for new King
COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
On Sept. 8, King Charles III acceded to the British throne upon the death of Queen Elizabeth II. No, he’s not there to govern; that’s Parliament’s job. He’s there to reign in the best spirit of what the British Monarchy is all about, and is faced with a very troubled world. And his mother’s historically long, inspiring reign is certainly a hard act to follow. He needs our prayers, especially for the right attitude.
The right attitude? Yes, his situation reminds me of the example of ancient King Solomon. He was faced with acceding to the throne of Israel upon the death of his amazing father, King David, about 3,000 years ago.
Solomon was quite overwhelmed. God came to him in a dream and asked him what he’d like.
Solomon responded: “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.” (1 Kings 3:7-9 NRSV)
Note especially the phrase, “understanding mind.” In the original Hebrew, that phrase is lev shome’a, literally “a listening heart.”
God was pleased. Solomon could have asked for long life, riches and revenge against his enemies. But no, he asked for a listening heart in order to guide his people wisely.
Ah yes, the right attitude. Solomon asked for a listening heart, a heart that is sensitive both to the voice of God and to the needs of the people. A heart of spiritually and morally informed observation, reason and reflection within the awesome mandate such leadership implies.
A heart that beats to the rhythm of the Shema, the heart of Jewish worship: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart” … and by extension, “love your neighbour as yourself.”
And indeed, that’s just what God gave him, so that Solomon has come down through the ages as the wisest king that ever was.
And a listening heart is just what I pray for now on behalf of King Charles III.
© 2022 Warren Harbeck