A Call to Prayer

One of the favorite verses of the American church has been 2 Chronicles 7:14.

“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.”

This call often goes out to Christians from Christian leaders in times of moral crisis and the focus is usually on God healing our nation.

We want everyone else to turn from their wicked ways. We want our “pagan” worldly society to seek God’s face so that God will bless our land.

Every time I have heard this verse quoted it is usually in those terms.

Here is a problem. We usually take that verse out of context. In fact, it is not a complete sentence by itself. We always leave out the first part.

Here is the whole thing. It is all one, long, complete sentence.

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 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 7:13-14)

A couple things to note. 

First, this promise is given to God’s people. Contextualized, today we would say it is given to Christians. That means that God’s people, Christians are to humble themselves, seek God and turn from their evil, sinful ways.

Right now, this is a time for us, followers of Jesus, to re-examine our lives, to re-examine our priorities, to re-examine how we spend our time, how we treat others, and how we invest in the things that really matter.

Second, the context of this passage is that this promise is given for times when God allowed or sent drought, pestilence or plagues on Israel to discipline them when they had turned away from him in idolatry. Over and over again in the Old Testament narrative, we see God disciplining his people to cause them to turn back to him. (And we don’t like discipline, do we?)

Could it be that God has allowed this Coronavirus to expose our need for Him? Maybe He is calling us to take our focus off all the temporal, less important stuff. Maybe He is calling us back to Him. Maybe this is a wake-up call.

We don’t like that idea, do we? We tend to feel privileged. We’re the blessed people, right? Everything is supposed to go well for us, right? We shouldn’t have to suffer, right? God would never judge His people in America, right?

Perhaps the good that will come out of this difficult period of time is that people will start taking seriously things of eternal importance.

Our call to prayer today is first a call to humble ourselves, to seek God, and to turn from everything that is contrary to God’s holiness, goodness and love. 

Our call to prayer today is a call to believe and trust that God will use this time to turn people back to him, to restore and to heal the nations of the world for his glory.

I want to leave you again with these prayer requests for the week. I believe that we can see God miraculously turn the tide and bring good out of a terrible situation.

Pray that many people will seek God for hope, look to Christ in faith, and turn to Him during this time.

Pray that God will intervene and work to quickly stop the spread of the Coronavirus.

Pray for those who have contracted the Coronavirus, that God will bring healing to them.

Pray for families and businesses who are in crisis and are suffering financially, that they will have peace in the midst of this and find help for their needs.

Pray for leaders in every area of our country to make wise choices and be guided by accurate facts and not fear.

Pray that through all of this, people will see God at work and give glory to Him.

Keep looking to God.

Pastor Paul