As Solomon assumed the reign of his father David over the people of Israel, he immediately acknowledged his need for God’s help. He was not the typical over-confident, young upstart who was convinced he could do a better job than the old man who had come before him. He was a humble man over awed by the responsibility entrusted to him and he pleaded with God for help.

He prayed, “Give your servant an understanding mind to govern your people that I may discern between good and evil…” The phrase “understanding mind” would literally read “a hearing mind.” It was a prayer to hear God and apply God’s truth in his leadership. It was more than knowledge. It involved sensitivity and understanding along with imagination enabling him to put himself in the place of others.

God answered this prayer as is seen in the next passage about the two women claiming to be the mother of the same child. “Cut the child in half” Solomon said, “give each woman half.” The real mother relented and gave up her rights. The false mother agreed.

A “hearing heart” is important in all leadership roles. Dilday observes, “A hearing heart is an indispensable quality of leadership. He who seeks this kind of wisdom first is already wise. That’s why this request has been considered a model for political leaders since Solomon’s day. His prayer has often been repeated by great rulers as they assumed office. For example, when Harry Truman was inaugurated as president of the United States, he offered this same petition as his own prayer for guidance.”

Lord, give me a hearing heart.

“Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.” Philippians 2:2