Wednesday, May 16, 2018
I've been reading through some of the more"arid" books of the Old Testament lately. Judges, First and Second Kings, First and Second Chronicles. Reading them is a lot like walking through a desert. That's why, when I came upon this verse in 2nd Chronicles, I paused and refreshed myself with its comforting words. I left that verse behind with a feeling of hope. See if you don't agree.
"14 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 I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." - 2 Chronicles 7:14
God gives us some promises here. God's promises are good. He will hear us from heaven. That's good. He will forgive our sins. That's good too. And he will heal our land. That's amazing. Those are all good things BUT before God does those things WE have to do a few things of our own.
We have to humble ourselves, we have to pray, we have to seek God, and we have to turn from our wicked ways. That can be a tall order for most of us. Impossible for some. I think this verse is where we must ask ourselves, "Do we do all of these things that God asks of us?"
They are prerequisites for God answering our prayers.
Do we humble ourselves when we pray? Do we seek God's will when we pray or when we make our decisions? And when we sin, do we feel bad about it? Is there any repentance? Read this prayer from David and see if he exhibits a humble, repentant heart, seeking God in what he asks.
“Praise be to you, Lord, the God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. 11 Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. 12 Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. 13 Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.
14 But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. 15 We are foreigners and strangers in your sight, as were all our ancestors. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope. 16 Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you." - 1 Chronicles 29:10-16
Now, that is a prayer. David, the most powerful man of his time, is humble, as WE should be. To often my prayers are more like a laundry list of requests that I hope God would fulfill. When was the last time I asked God, "Who am I that you should send me?" or "How may I better serve you, Lord?
If God is going to heal our land (and our hearts) don't we need to do as He asks, first? If we are wandering through a desert in this life, don't we need to seek His face before He will deliver us to the oasis we so desperately need? The only prayer that God hears from a sinner is a prayer of humble repentance. THEN, and ONLY then, will He hear and heal and forgive.
What If His People Prayed - Casting Crowns