We are taking a break from our "ladies" this week, and we are focusing on a familiar passage to many of us:
(II Chronicles 7:13-15)
God is talking to Solomon here. Solomon has just finished leading the people of his nation in worship; they have offered sacrifices and prayed. God is telling him that when the people (or their leader) sin, they will receive discipline -- He mentions drought, locusts, or plague. He indicates that if the people will do three things, they will be heard, and He will forgive and heal their land. And He promises that He is paying attention!
We talked yesterday about how far down the path of sin our countries have gone. It doesn't matter if we are talking about America or any other country -- the problems are still there. There is heartbreak in almost every family, caused by the sins of alcohol, drugs, pornography, abortion, and rebellion against God. But is it any wonder?
Our nation, as an example, has walked away from God. Our churches have become quite comfortable in the freedom we have, and instead of being a "peculiar" people, many of us can't be identified as Christians. We blend in with the crowd. We are not being the salt and light that Jesus tells us we need to be:
Have we lost our "saltiness"? Have we lost our identity? Then we have lost our witness . . .
The greatest institution for change in a country is not the building where the law makers meet. It's not the building where the leader lives or does his/her business. It isn't the building where the economic policy is crafted.
It's the church. And not the beautiful buildings where people assemble to worship. The hearts of the people of God. That is where the strength of a nation resides, and there are vital keys to influencing our countries for Jesus.
The first key is prayer. The church (whether we are considering the buildings for assembly or the hearts of God's followers) needs to be a place of prayer. No matter what else happens inside the walls of the churches, they need to first and foremost be places of prayer.
he said to them,No matter what else goes on in our hearts as Christians, no matter what the distractions are, we need to be fired up for God, and be a people of prayer. Remember our focus passage?
if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray (II Chronicles 7:14a)There are our instructions! Some of us who study here are quilters. We begin with a lovely pile of fabrics that we pet and talk to (yes, we really do) and then we grab our instructions. We wouldn't think of beginning a project without at least reading through the pattern and understanding what it will take to make the quilt turn out right. In the same way, Christians need to follow their instructions. God says here that we need to humble ourselves and pray. We can't expect God's blessings if we don't seek His face in humble prayer.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.And what does the Lord require of you?To act justly and to love mercyand to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)Walking humbly with Him . . . let that stay in your mind's eye for a moment. Now let's first pray for ourselves; let's ask for forgiveness of our sins and for His presence to be real to us.
(Jeremiah 29:12-13)Then, let's pray for others:
(Ephesians 6:18)Pray for those in places of leadership -- political, too.
Then, let's pray for revival. That our nations will turn back to God.
Prayer is the vital link to bringing our countries back from the brink. Yes, perilous times are coming, but the people of God need to be about the business of prayer, and of influencing as many as we can to turn to Him. Our work is important, as the tiny book of Jude says:
save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. (Jude 23)I'll close today with a quotation from an important man in the history of the United States. Today's historians prefer to gloss over or even deny the faith of the founders of America, but in their writings, the truth is obvious:
It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty
God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly implore
His protection and favors. (George Washington)
Let's covenant with God today to be a people of prayer.