Then 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 will forgive their sins and restore their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
It is almost as quotable as John 3:16
In the context of the passage when God speaks to Solomon and says bad things will happen but IF and then He says what we quote so often! Sidebar, It actually says that HE APPEARED to Solomon, was this a Pre-Incarnate Theophany of Jesus?. I'll let brighter men and women than I sort that out.
Let's parse this passage and see if we qualify for God to heal our land. I'm not convinced.
It means on the backside of some crisis that people need to take action.
It means that this is a conditional promise, no action on our part, no promise delivered
I know that all people are God's people in principle, but in reality he is talking about a specific group of people. Not everyone is called to this.
WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME
Now we know who they are. Those who name the name of Jesus. Those who are called by themselves and the world "Christians" in current parlance. I know this was written to Hebrews.. but we now are the ones.
WILL HUMBLE THEMSELVES
This now means that we who are of the above need to get over ourselves. That we are the guilty ones. That we are the ones who need to shoulder the blame. Not someone 200 years ago. Not the democrats or republicans. Not the president. Not the Illuminati. It you and me O Lord standing in the need of prayer. We must be humble enough to say.. I have dropped the ball. I didn't speak up. I let things slide. I am sorry Lord. I am humiliated by my failure. Pride must die.
This is not a prayer of petition, this is a prayer of repentance from dead works. A prayer that backs up the humility we need. The prayer that calls on God for his mercy when none is really earned or due. We pray for His grace and wisdom. This is about realignment, us with the purposes of God. Prayer changes things, but mostly it changes you and me. We are indeed part of the answer to every prayer we pray. So when we pray.. we must understand.
AND SEEK MY FACE
Figure out what God is doing and get in line with that. Seeking God's face means we seek to line up with his plans. When we seek His face we strive to be in His perfect presence where nothing is hidden. Where pure love flows. Where our intentions and desires become subordinate. Seeking his face also means our eyes being opened to new truth. We run from God when we are in even partial rebellion. Seeking his face is seeing ourselves as HE sees us naked and ashamed. Not in condemnation but in truth. His presence shines the light of truth on all motives.
AND TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS
This is our responsibility to stop doing, thinking, saying, feeling, confessing and affirming that which is wicked. This is not about harboring sin, this is about real repentance. Repentance means turning around. Turning from. If we think everyone else needs to repent.. then we have not fulfilled the requirement. As long as we hold aught against anyone for some perceived flaw of fault we are unrepentant of our wicked ways. This is hard and where most of us fail. There are many things that we need to turn from. Some are more overt.. some are more hidden. IF we keep doing what we have always done and expect God to act, we will be disappointed.
THEN I WILL HEAR FROM HEAVEN AND WILL FORGIVE THEIR SINS AND WILL HEAL (RESTORE) THEIR LAND.
This is the bookend to the conditional promise. IF --- THEN. If our land is unhealed and unrestored it is not because God hates us or is cursing us, it's because we have not yet fulfilled the requirements laid on us. There is still resentment, wickedness, unrepented sin, avoidance of the presence of God in revelation, humility is missing then any prayer we pray is empty. We are in a barren place so God must be requiring something before he will move.
Heaven is silent, sin retained and a damaged land is what I see. I see pride, arrogance, anger, resentment and harbored unforgiveness. That is a recipe for the blight to remain.
We can't call a prayer meeting and pray for an hour without first doing all the other things that are part of the conditions. Until pride is crushed God will allow things to drift. I don't want that and I don't think you do.
This is going to take careful self examination. What does it mean to YOU, to ME to become part of the solution and not part of the problem. Prayer without all the other requirements fulfilled is simply empty words. It's good to pray.. but a dry and barren land cries out for humility, repentance, the presence of God revealing the very thoughts and intentions of ourselves.
One more thing. God says in the next verse: 15
My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place.
Where is THIS PLACE? You are the temple, you must cleanse it, become that which God can hear, see and be attentive.
I want that.. but it's going to take many many of us called by HIS NAME to bring healing to our land.