II CHRONICLES 7:14
Is prayer a daily priority in your life, or a last resort? No matter how you approach prayer, there is no time like the present to lift up our nation to the Lord.
As a country, we have turned away from following God; there is widespread failure to obey His commandments or live by Biblical principles. Is it just coincidence that our morality suffers? Or that economically, we face one of the most difficult times since the Great Depression? Regardless of what caused our national condition, Christian citizens should care enough about their country to cry out to God on its behalf.
We can be proud of our beautiful forests, gorgeous mountains, enormous rivers and fertile farmlands. We can be proud of our democracy, our system of government and our freedoms of speech and movement. We can be proud to be a refuge for those in need.
It is written on the base of our Stature of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free, the refuse of your teeming shore. Send these the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
We can be proud of our Bill of Rights and proud that on our money it says, “In God we trust.”
The condition of our nation is evidence that we need to pray for God’s divine intervention.
Economic struggles, natural disasters, terrorist threats and the breakdown of families. Let’s not fool ourselves. We are a nation in trouble!
- We are a nation that permits babies to be murdered through abortion.
- We are a nation that has to build more cells because our prisons are overcrowded.
- We are a nation that forbids prayer in school, and forbids Christian groups to meet on some campuses.
- We are a nation whose general morality has reached an all time low.
- We tend to slap the face of God who made us a great nation!
There is no doubt that America is but a shadow of her previous greatness. Does this have anything to do with God? II Chronicles 7:13 tells us that the answer is “Yes”.
Biblical warnings should also motivate us to pray.
God sometimes sends adversity to get the attention of His people. (II Chronicles 7:22; Deuteronomy 8:19; II Chronicles 7:19-20) The United States has enjoyed spiritual and material abundance as a result of God’s favor upon us. But there can be little doubt that, as a whole, our nation has rebelled against the Lord and refuses to live by His standards.
The principles of God do not change.
Although it was originally written for the nation of Israel, II Chronicles outlines a Biblical principle which endures for all time and all situations. (Galatians 6:7; Matthew 7:26-27) If God allowed adversity to come to Israel—His chosen people—because of their sin and idolatry, why would He spare the Untied States?
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE
God says that His people are the responsible ones. Originally, that would have meant that God was speaking to Israel. Today however, the people of God are the Christians. (Romans 10:12-13)
Notice also that the people of God are those called by His name. We are called “Christians,” named after Jesus Christ, who is God in the flesh. It is the Christian who needs to be responsible for a national turning back to God.
What will it take for God to hear and answer our prayers?
II Chronicles 7:14 says: “If my people”: In the original context, this phrase referred to Israel. Today it also includes the church. As God’s children, we have the unique privilege of approaching the Father to ask for his favor and blessings.
WHAT ARE THE RESPONSIBILITIES?
- We are to humble ourselves.
- We are to pray, I believe this is a prayer of confession. (Psalm 32:5)
- We are to seek God’s face.
- We are to turn from our wicked ways.
- We must acknowledge that we depend totally on the Lord and need Him to intervene in our salvation. (Job 35:12; Proverbs 16:18) Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.
“And pray”: We should intercede for all residents of our country—not just for the needs of our families, friends and co-workers. Pray for revival, strong marriages, godly parenting and honest, capable leaders. In today’s difficult circumstances, believers should be highly motivated to cry out to God, confident that He desires to work on our behalf.
“Turn from their wicked ways”: God has conditions for when He will respond to our prayers. The word “wicked” includes all deliberate, willful disobedience—not just violent crimes such as murder. If we want our prayers to be heard, we must not only confess our sins, but repent of them as well. In other words, we should agree with God that what we’ve done displeases Him, and we should turn away from wrongdoing.
WHAT WILL GOD DO IN RESPONSE TO OUR PRAYERS?
The promise in II Chronicles 7:14 is threefold:
- The Lord will hear our cry.
- Forgive our sins.
- Heal our land.
I believe that if enough people cry out to the Lord, He will restore our country and make us into a nation that honors Him again.
HELP FOR AMERICA
I probably don’t have to tell you that America is in a moral and spiritual mess! Just look at the deterioration in American television, radio and movies. Things are said and allowed that were considered inappropriate and lewd in the past. Consider also the drastic increase of unmarried couples living together and the lack of respect and discipline in the schools. Forty years ago while Bible and prayer was allowed in public schools, teachers reported major problems:
- talking in class, chewing gum, making noise, running in the halls, getting out of line
- drug abuse, suicide, alcohol use, pregnancy, and what about all the perverted crimes against children and the astronomical number of abortions performed in a year.
So, what is the solution to his problem? Can we see any change? Is there a way of seeing America reverse itself and once again become a God-fearing nation? I believe the answer is ‘YES”. I also believe that for America to turn around, the change must begin in every church that truly preaches and practices the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
II Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
I want us to see 3 things from this verse:
- GOD’S PEOPLE ARE RESPONSIBLE.
- GOD’S PEOPLE ARE TO REPENT.
- GOD’S PEOPLE WILL BE REWARDED.
God’s People Are Responsible: “If my people, which are called by my name.”
Not only are we God’s people but, as the text says, we are called by God’s name. Actually we are called by the name of God’s Son. We are called Christians.
When things are morally and spiritually rotten, God’s people are responsible. You might be thinking, “How can you blame all of this on us Christians?” I believe the problem is, at least in part, our fault for a few reasons:
- We have failed to live godly lives. (I Peter 1:15-16)
- We have failed to be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” to those around us. (Matthew 5:13; 14-16)
- We have failed to witness to others.
- We have failed to really care about the conditions around us, and failing to care.
- We have failed to pray!
So like it or not, we are responsible for part of the problem, because we have not been part of the solution.
God’s People Are To Repent: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves”
When a person repents, he or she has a change in heart and a change in direction. He is headed in the wrong direction and turns around to go in the right direction. The first part of repentance is humility. Humility is a quality that God requires of those who would be saved. In order to have God’s forgiveness, we have to admit that we are sinners and can’t save ourselves.
Humility is a quality that God requires of Christians.
I believe that we as Christians need to humble ourselves. we try too hard in our own strength. We fail to admit what Jesus told us in John 15:5, “Without Him we can do nothing.”
The sooner we realize that we are helpless without God, the better off we will be. What stops us? Our pride keeps us from humbling ourselves before God and admitting that we need His help.
Also our pride and our lusts keep us from admitting that we have sin in our lives that needs to be dealt with. We don’t like admitting our sins.
The next step in repentance is seeking God’s face through prayer. We fail to live holy lives because we fail to pray. Oh we pray when people are seriously ill, but we don’t pray seeking God’s strength for godly living. And we don’t pray seeking God’s forgiveness for our sins, and we don’t pray bringing the need of our nation before the Lord.
There was once a man named Nehemiah who was concerned because the city of Jerusalem was defenseless, before he did anything else he beseeched God in repentance and prayer. Nehemiah knew how to seek the face of God in prayer. How about you?
“If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” (Psalm 66:18)
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9)
And with confession of sin comes turning from sin.
Turning away from sin means I’ve truly repented of sin.
Turning from sin, requires personal submission to God and reliance of and on Him. (Romans 6:1-14)
God’s People Will Be Rewarded
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will heal their land.” (II Chronicles 7:14)
Notice the word “then”.
Don’t expect God to hear, forgive or heal until you have humbly repented.
“If and Then”
God promises to hear when we cry out to Him in humble confession and forsaking of sin. When God hears, He is attentive and already to act in our behalf.
God also promised to forgive our sin. We’ve already seen that, but please realize that forgiveness means a removal of guilt. So many of us walk around feeling guilty about things that God wants us simply to confess and forsake.
Finally, God promises to heal our land. What land? America? Yes, as Christians pray for the healing of America individually and corporately. I believe we will experience healing. That’s why we are encouraging you to gather together with other Christians and pray for our nation.
God also promises to heal YOUR LAND.
- Perhaps it’s a behavioral problem that you have.
- Perhaps it’s a broken relationship.
- Perhaps it’s a financial need.
- Perhaps it’s a problem with your husband or wife, son or daughter, Mom or Dad.
- Perhaps it’s a need for friends or loved ones to be saved.
When we are right with God, we open the door for God to answer our prayers and to meet our needs.
“Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knows not.” (Jeremiah 33:3)
Do you love our nation and the independence we enjoy? Then I challenge you to kneel before the Lord and cry out to Him on behalf of the United States of America. Ask God to send another Great Awakening to revive America. If we do that, He promises to hear from heaven and heal our land.