“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. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayers offered... (2 Chronicles 7:13-15, NIV, emphasis added)
· The above passage is almost universally invoked either during the National Day of Prayer in May, or at Memorial Day, or during Independence Day festivities. In America, Evangelicals are convinced that, if “God’s People” turn to Him and pray, He “will hear from heaven and…heal our land.” After all, it says so on our journals and on our coffee cups! Yet a more careful reading of the verse (and the verses before and after) reveals that it isn’t quite that simple. Have you been too quick to believe the “easy” version? Have you prayed that way?
· Look carefully at the underlined portions. Ask the Lord to personally search your heart and ask Him: do you exhibit humility, and are you willing to humble yourself, even more than you have ever done so before, for the sake of our country? What would that look like? Ask Him, “what would it mean for me to ‘humble myself’ in order for a way to be opened so You can heal our land?”
· We all think we have prayed for America, and for our leaders etc. Ask the Lord, “have I prayed for America in a way that You can answer? Is there a different way You want me to pray for my country?”
· Usually, we stop after the word “pray.” But we need to continue! Have you ever asked to “seek His face?” What does that phrase mean to you? What does that mean to the Lord? Ask Him! Keep in mind, this is part of what it is required of us before He can heal our land!
· We must also commit to “turn from our wicked ways!” It is not enough to “humble ourselves and pray.” It isn’t enough to do those things or even “to seek His face.” We must also “turn from our wicked ways.” Ask the Lord in all sincerity, “see if there be any wicked way in me…” (Psalm 139:24) and if so, not only confess it, but then ask for His Spirit’s power to turn away from it! Keep in mind, our turning from wickedness is necessary before He can heal America. This charge is NOT to unbelievers; it is to God’s very own people! It is hard for us to think that we ourselves are the wicked ones, but that is exactly what God is saying: until we ourselves put away our wickedness, America won’t be healed.
· Finally, it is true that this passage is meant for God’s people as a whole; as a community. But unless we each first look to ourselves and align ourselves with God’s Word, we cannot expect God’s People as a whole to do it. Let it begin with me.