Today is the 2020 National Day of Prayer in America. I have asked my Executive Pastor, Vince D’ Acchioli, to share his thoughts on 2 Chronicles 2:14. If ever we need to humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face and turn from our sinful ways, it is now! Take time to read this blog from Vince and then, go and pray.
Two of the most powerful words found in God’s Word are if and then. When discovered in the right context, they indicate God’s promises resulting from man’s obedience. These two words are found in this way in many places throughout the Bible, but nowhere are they more profound then in 2 Chronicles. Read it with me please:
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, NIV).
- If My people
- The word If in this context is a conjunction introducing a conditional clause—what follows is a clear list of conditions that, if met, will lead to a promised end. My people is a clear indication that God is speaking to those He would call His followers.
- Called by My name
- The meaning of called here would indicate that we, as His people, have a calling upon our lives. I am persuaded that our universal calling is and always has been, to advance His kingdom on planet earth.
- Will humble themselves
- This is perhaps the most important statement in the verse. It is interesting to note that the call to humble themselves comes before the call to actually pray. What does this mean? Tyron Edwards (an American theologian from the 1800s) perhaps said it best, “Humility is not an abject, groveling, self-despising spirit; it is but a right estimate of ourselves as God sees us.”
- And pray
- While the word pray should be understood by most Christians, sadly it is often misunderstood. There has been a lot written about prayer, however our best source is Jesus Himself as He has taught us in His Word. To acknowledge God, ask for specific needs and give thanks.
- And seek My face
- In my Strong’s Concordance, the Hebrew word for seek is abash #1245: to search out, as in worship or prayer. Presence is a common translation of the Hebrew word face. For me this is one of the most important statements in the verse and is a natural follow-on to the call for humility. We are called to worship God—to seek His presence. In my walk with Him, I can honestly report that experiencing His presence is directly tied to my reaching a place of utter humility before Him.
- And turn from their wicked ways
- This may be the most critical IF condition on two fronts. First, for most of us (especially us men) obedience to God’s Word, which is clearly what is being asked for here, is very challenging. But second, we need to understand the relationship between obedience and power. James 5:16 says, The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. In this context, righteousness means right standing before God. It carries with it the importance of true repentance.
- Then I will hear—forgive—heal
- So here is the best part. The part where God promises to act as a direct result of our meeting His conditions. Sadly, it is also the part we focus upon without clearly recognizing the price He is calling us to pay to receive it.
Dear friends, given what is going on right now, we have never been more desperate to hear God, receive His forgivenessand experience His healing in our nation and world. I am convinced that, while we understand the message wrapped up in Ephesians 6:12, we continue to try to win the battle through human engineering, political posturing and maneuvering.
Ephesians 6:12 says, For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
The message is clear—evil and dark places are all around us. While we struggle to fight a physical virus, there is a much more dangerous and hideous spiritual one at work. The battle against this virus will never be won using conventional, human engineered methods. Prayer is the answer, but a comprehensive understanding of what is required of the Believer who goes to Him in prayer, is critical. My question to all of us—while we understand and deeply seek after the promise, how are we doing in meeting ALL of the conditions?
Finally, remember this promise:
Phil. 4:5-7 says, The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.