March 10, 2013
Focal Scripture Passage:
1 Kings 3:3-14, 24-28; 4:29-34
To lead students to identify and describe the elements of Solomon’s wise
prayer, and to encourage them to be wise in their attitudes, prayers, and
Read the notes on 1 Kings 3 – 4 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.
Have enough copies of the handout titled “The
Prayer of a Wise Man” for your anticipated attendance. Have pens or
pencils on hand for those who might need one. Write the following question
on the marker board or chalkboard: “If
You Could Have Anything You Wanted, What Would You Ask For?”
Write or print the following scripture references on index cards or small
pieces of paper: John 15:5; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10;
Ephesians 3:20; Philippians 4:13; James 1:5; James 3:17.
Enlist some volunteers to look up the verses and be prepared to read them to
the class when you call for them.
(Create Learning Readiness): Read
the question written on the board. Remind the class that as kids we heard
the fairy tale about a genie in a magic lamp who would grant three wishes to
his owner. Ask: “Did you ever think about what you would ask the genie
for if you had the chance?”
From time to time we hear about someone
receiving a huge inheritance or winning a lottery jackpot of tens of
millions of dollars. Ask: “Have you ever thought about what you would do
if you suddenly had virtually limitless money?”
Tell the class that we have all probably
dreamed about fairy tale scenarios such as those, but in today’s lesson they
will learn about a real man who really had the opportunity to
ask for anything, with the assurance that he would get whatever he asked
for. Ask the following rhetorical question: “What would you ask for?”
HEART OF THE LESSON
Briefly remind the class of the historical setting of the book of 1
Ask them what happened in last week’s lesson. Remind them that
Solomon was now king of Israel.
Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verse (1 Pet.
God’s Amazing Offer to
Ask a volunteer to read 1 Kings 3:3-4.
Ask: “How does the Bible describe Solomon’s relationship with the
Lord?” (he loved the
Lord and was as faithful to Him
as his father David had been; his only shortcoming was that he sacrificed to
the Lord on the high places).
Use the map to show where Gibeon was located.
Explain that “high places” were open areas on hilltops that had been
used by the Canaanites to worship their pagan gods. The Lord told the
Israelites to destroy all of the high places, but they failed to obey. Over
time, the Israelites began worshiping Almighty God in the very high places
He had commanded them to destroy. (See the notes on verse 4 in the
Sunday School Teacher Book for interesting facts about the location of
the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant at that time.)
Read 1 Kings 3:5.
Tell the class that God spoke to Solomon in a dream at night.
Ask: “What did God say to Solomon?” (“Ask what you want and
I’ll give it to you”).
Solomon’s Wise Prayer.
Give everyone a copy of the handout titled “The
Prayer of a Wise Man” (and a pen or pencil if needed).
Tell the class to listen very carefully to Solomon’s prayer, as you
read 1 Kings 3:6-9.
Using the handout as your guide, lead the class to identify and
describe the elements of Solomon’s wise prayer. Ask them to fill in the
blanks as they identify the correct words (underlined and in bold type
Ask: “What two things did Solomon thank God for in verse 6?”
(His mercy and kindness in the past). David had
walked before the Lord in truth and righteousness.
Ask: “Could Solomon claim credit for his father’s goodness or for
God’s mercy and kindness?” (no; he had nothing to do with either).
Re-read the end of verse 6 and first half of verse 7. Ask: “Did
Solomon brag on himself?” (no).
Tell the class we have all seen athletes and other famous persons who
brag on themselves and their amazing abilities. Solomon was king of Israel,
but rather than thinking he was really great, he recognized that his
position and blessings were gifts from God, not based
upon his abilities.
Ask: “What did Solomon say about his abilities in verse 7?”
(he was like a child who didn’t know anything).
Ask the class to suggest a word for the next blank (Solomon
recognized and admitted his limitations).
Ask: “According to verse 8, what did Solomon say about the job
ahead of him as king of Israel?” (Solomon recognized the size
and difficulty of the job God had given him). Remind the
class that God promised to give Solomon anything he asked for.
Re-read verse 9. Ask: “What did Solomon ask God for?” (wisdom
to be able to do the job God had for him).
God’s Response to Solomon’s
Ask a volunteer to read 1 Kings 3:10-14.
Ask: “How did God feel about Solomon’s request?” (He was
Referring back to the handout, ask: “According to verse 11, what
did Solomon NOT ask for?” (long life, riches, or the death
of his enemies). Instead, Solomon asked for wisdom and discernment to judge
and rule his people.
Ask: “According to verse 12, what did God give Solomon?” (a
wise and understanding heart; more wisdom that anyone else).
Ask: “According to verse 13, what else did God give
Solomon?” (the things he did not ask for – riches and honor).
Ask: “According to verse 14, what did God promise to give Solomon
if he walked in God’s ways like his father had done?” (long life).
Briefly lecture on verses 16-23 using the following outline:
Two harlots came before
Solomon with a dispute. They shared the same house and they had both
recently given birth to new babies.
One woman accidentally lay on
her baby during the night, causing the baby to die. In the morning, she
swapped her dead baby with the other woman’s living baby.
Each woman claimed that the
living baby was hers. There were no witnesses, so it was one person’s word
Read 1 Kings 3:24-25.
Ask: “What did Solomon wisely do?” (ordered that the living
baby be cut in half, with each woman receiving on half).
Ask a volunteer to read 1 Kings 3:26-28.
Ask: “What happened in verse 26?” (one woman begged that the
baby’s life be spared and that the baby be given to the other woman, but the
other woman wanted it cut in half and killed).
Ask: “How did Solomon know which woman was the real mother?”
(the real mother wanted to keep her baby alive, even if it meant losing the
baby to the other woman).
Solomon gave the living baby to its mother.
Ask: “How did Israel react to Solomon’s great wisdom?” (they
saw that God’s wisdom was in him, so they respected him).
Solomon’s Great Wisdom and
Tell the class that Solomon appointed regional governors and other
leaders to help him lead Israel.
Read 1 Kings 4:29-34.
Tell the class that Solomon was wiser than the wisest men on earth.
He wrote many proverbs and songs. Some of his work is preserved for us in
the Old Testament books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon.
People came from all over the world to hear Solomon’s great wisdom.
Tell the class that in this lesson they have learned about the prayer of a
truly wise man. Use the completed
handout to review the elements of Solomon’s wise prayer. Note the fact
that this prayer does not present a formula we can follow to get
God’s blessings. Read the title of the handout. Solomon’s prayer was not
just a prayer for wisdom, it was a wise prayer prayed by a wise
Tell the class that many people in our
modern, self-centered world are overly impressed with themselves, their
achievements, and their abilities. Solomon recognized the wisest truth any
human being can grasp: he recognized that he was nothing and God was
Tell the class that one of the most
empowering things a child of God can ever do is to realize that he or she
cannot live for God or serve God without God’s help. Until we realize our
weakness, we won’t turn to God for help. Ask the previously enlisted
volunteer to read 2 Corinthians
12:9-10. The only place we ever
find God’s strength is in our weakness: in our weakness we become strong.
Ask the previously enlisted volunteers to read
and Philippians 4:13. Only when we understand that we are powerless
do we truly trust God to work through us.
Solomon asked God to give him wisdom, but
God gave him more than he could ever imagine. That’s the way God works.
Ask the previously enlisted volunteer to read
Ask: “Do you need God’s wisdom and help?”
Ask the previously enlisted volunteers to read
and James 3:17.
Remind the class that this lesson has been
about the prayer of a wise man. Ask: “Are you a wise person? Do you
recognize your limitations? Do you see the size and difficulty of the tasks
God has given you, compared to your inadequate abilities? If so, you are a
candidate for God’s blessings.”
Encourage everyone to be wise in their
attitudes, prayers, and actions this week.
Ask everyone to memorize James 1:5. Tell them to remember how God
answered Solomon’s prayer, and to ask the Lord daily for the wisdom they
need to live for Him and serve Him.