A Time to Pray
“…if my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
Second Chronicles 7:14 contains a remarkable promise from the Almighty God that speaks of forgiveness and healing for nations and for believers. But as awesome a prophetic promise as it is for America, many believers forget that it is a conditional promise. When believers meet His conditions, God will honor His promise.
As we look at this country, we see a nation that is morally bankrupt and in spiritual decline. Vulgarity, indecency, obscenities, lies, and corruption are today’s norm. Economic struggles, terrorist threats, sexual immorality, and the breakdown of families are just a few problems our country faces. We are a fractured people and nation, and we need healing through God’s divine intervention.
If My People, Who Are Called by My Name
The solutions to the nation’s problems lie not with politicians, reformers, educators, or business leaders, but with God’s people. Today, God’s people are those who worship Him, who accept and follow the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior – men and women who are His, not just in name, but in every aspect of their lives. In the darkest of situations, the Church can call out to God, and He will hear. This promise has not expired, but remains the key that makes it possible for all His people to take full responsibility for our condition and turn back the spiritual decline.
In fact, God has given the Church four conditions to seeing His healing come to our nation and our lives, and they are all centered in changes that take place in our hearts.
Will Humble Themselves
Humility means “to bend the knee, to bow down, to be in subjection to.” Humility is when we truly understand how poor and needy we are before God. Those who are humble know what it means to grieve over their sins and the sins of others. Simply put, humility means we are utterly dependent on God, which is the opposite of pride. James 4:16 tells us that “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
Being humble is a difficult position, because we all tend to depend on any number of other factors than God only, whether it is our education, our career, our accomplishments and works, or our spiritual résumé. Both individually and as a Church there is a need to set aside our pride and humble ourselves. We must be willing to get on our faces before God, come to the cross of Christ with nothing but ourselves, and cry out to Him for a fresh outpouring of His Holy Spirit on our lives and out to the world.
To pray means to “ask” when you want God to do something for you and for others. The sovereign God has ordained prayer as the tool to get His work done, and He works in accord with the praying of His people and His own sovereign will. Prayer not only prepares us to do His work, but it is the work that must be done before any other work for the Lord is done. However, we in the Church tend to do almost anything but pray and often treat prayers as though it is a last resort rather than the first thing we should do. We as individuals and the Church must pray. All the major revivals have come because of believers who were serious enough to cry out to God in prayer.
And Seek My Face
God has said, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). God is personal, and we must deal with Him as a person. Too often, we seek the hand of God, which represents His works, instead of the face of God, which represents His nature and who He really is. When we seek His face, we see His holiness and love, which exposes our sin and depravity and selfishness. When we seek His face, we come with adoration and praise and worship, and we are changed and want to love Him more dearly and walk with Him more intimately. When we seek His face, we begin to hear His voice and discover His love and mercy that pardon us of all our sins.
And Turn From Their Wicked Ways
The psalmist said, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Psalm 66:18). If we want to experience the presence of God that changes our lives and the world, we need to get rid of anything that pushes Christ from the center of our lives. It might be our complacency, apathy, and indifference to what God is concerned about – the poor, the brokenhearted, the exploited, or the unemployed. God hates sin and all forms of wickedness, whether it is abortion, sexual sins, lying, cheating, drunkenness, drug abuse, hatred, jealousy, envy, and fits of rage. And He is not pleased with a Church that refuses to stand out against the many great evils of our day – believers who never fight for what is right, who compromise in an attempt not to offend, who carry no cross and stand for nothing.
Then Will I Hear From Heaven and Will Forgive Their Sin and Will Heal Their Land
From the place of authority, heaven itself, God will “hear,” which means “to listen to a point where you are moved to action.” In other words, He has promised to respond to their prayers. Evangelist Dwight L. Moody said that when God’s people fulfill His conditions, He “brings heaven within speaking distance.”
Standing by Faith
Usually Satan will try to suggest to you that your prayers were not heard. He will encourage you to look to the problems again and get your eyes off God. He will try to get you to talk as if you are not sure if your prayer is answered. Charles Cowman said, “The devil is not put to flight by a courteous request. He meets us at every turn, contends for every inch, and our progress has to be registered in heart’s blood and tears.”
Be prepared for warfare with Satan. Take firm control of your thought life. Think on positive things (Philippians 4:6-9). By praising God and confessing the relevant truths of the Word, cast down every thought that is contrary to your prayer. Keep speaking what the Word of God says on the issue at stake. “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23). Then, keep believing you will see your prayers answered.
Never lose sight of the fact that there may be specific reasons why a prayer is not answered immediately. God may desire that your faith be exercised and strengthened through your patient waiting on Him. Settle it in your mind that God is always true and faithful to His promises. It may be that your heart is not prepared for the answer to your prayer, but it is on the way.
George Müller said, “Many of the dear children of God stagger, because prayer is not at once answered. And because for weeks, months, and years prayer remains unanswered, they cease to ask God, and thus they lose the blessing that, had they persevered, they would assuredly have obtained. When the heart is prepared for the blessing, it will be given by God.”
If there are delays, let your faith be resolved to trust only God and be more fervent in your prayer. Keep on waiting upon God. Pray on and keep looking for answers. Only be sure you ask for things that are according to the mind of God. Exercise faith in the power and willingness of God to answer your requests. In His time and by His power, God will abundantly prove that your faith was not in vain.