If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14
It is pointed out that 2 Chronicles 7:14 is addressed specifically to Israel. That is true. But surely the passage shows God’s heart for any people, any land.
What does God want from us?
First, we must humble ourselves. We must admit that God is God and we are not. We must submit to God and come to him in brokenness and repentance.
Second, we must pray and seek God’s face. No revival or awakening comes without prayer. Extensive prayer. Fervent prayer. Corporate prayer. Continual prayer. United prayer.
It is worth noting that the prayer here is focused on seeking God’s face and not God’s hand. We are seeking God for himself and not for what he gives us. We are locked in on God’s glory, not on our need.
Third, we must turn from our wicked ways. God wants obedience, not religious ceremony. We cannot just say the words of repentance and pray the prayers of repentance. We must do the deeds of repentance and obey God in every part of life.
If we do these three things, then God promises to respond in three ways. First, he will hear us. He will hear those prayers. Second, he will forgive our sin. He will remove our sin as far as the east is from the west. And third, God will heal our land. He will pour out his favor and blessing upon us. He will heal our land.
In 1861 Abraham Lincoln had just been elected president and the nation was tottering on the brink of war. There was cruel slavery in the land. The President faced widespread opposition and hostility. He issued a proclamation for our country, a proclamation which expressed the spirit of this passage.
Whereas a joint committee of both houses of Congress has waited on the President of the United States and requested him to recommend a day of public humiliation, prayer and fasting to be observed by the people of the United States with religious solemnities, and the offering of fervent supplications to Almighty God for the safety and welfare of these states, his blessing on their arms, and a speedy restoration of peace. And whereas it is fit and becoming in all people at all times to acknowledge and revere the supreme government of God, to bow in humble submission to his chastisement, to confess and deplore their sins and transgression, in the full conviction that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and to pray with all fervency and contrition for the pardon of their offenses and for a blessing upon their present and prospective action. Therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do appoint the last Thursday in September next as a day of humiliation, prayer and fasting, for all the people of the nation. And I do earnestly recommend to all the people, and especially to all ministers and teachers of religion of all denominations, and to all heads of families, to observe and keep that day, according to their several creeds and modes of worship, in all humility, and with all religious solemnity, to the end that the united prayer of the nation may ascend to the Throne of Grace, and bring down plentiful blessings upon our country.”
May that be our prayer today and may God grant it.