If My People…Pray
Happy New Year!
This is the time in which we make new plans, and new resolutions! This is the time in which we say,
“another year has come and gone, now we have a chance to make for a better year than last.”
We need to pray.
It is the beginning of 2017, we need to pray.
We are Christ’s church,
a local expression of His worldwide body,
so we must pray.
We are God’s People,
gathered together around this fellowship,
so we should pray.
When we pray, we should expect things to happen.
As we pray,
we should be opening our hearts to God’s Spirit of Life.
Since we pray,
we should be hearing even more from Our Savior, Lord and King.
A favorite verse for God’s people on prayer comes from 2 Chronicles.
It is the voice of God speaking to Solomon after he had completed building the Temple.
Let’s read this, today,
and my message will really be a meditation upon that verse.
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.
2 Chronicles 7:14
- IF My People
God is speaking about “His” people
Specifically, He was speaking about a collective of the People of Israel.
He would hear individual prayers, but He is for His People
As the Apostle Paul wrote,
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
God is for US.
that means God is for “you” and “me,”
but really, He is for “us,” collectively.
Can we step out of our American rugged individualism long enough
to see that what is precious to God is His People.
If my persons would be a people
Let’s be the people of God
Let’s gather together, not just here, but in our homes.
Let’s meet in cafes and pray for each other.
Let’s meet in businesses and study the Bible together while on break.
Let’s be the PEOPLE of God, not hidden, and showing up only at political events.
Let us be the people of God
Not waiting until we get everything ready, but let’s meet as part of our process of growing.
Let’s come here to share, to participate and to receive, not only from the pulpit but from the pew.
Let’s be the Active People of God, and specifically, let us be that with regards to prayer, and see where that takes us.
If my people…
- Who are called by My Name
The original people that God was talking about were the Hebrew people,
called by His Name.
Since then, God has expanded the definition of who are His People to include Non-Jews.
We are his people,
but through adoption
into His Family
by the work of Jesus in His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead!
We celebrated this act when we shared the Lord’s Table, today.
We are part of His family because He did the work to bring us in.
IF MY PEOPLE
WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME
- Will Pray
Does God answer prayer?
Must one be a Christian for God to answer one’s prayer?
…but once you are a Christian, you are, then, in a relationship with God, and our prayers are part of our life.
Don’t grow tired in prayer.
As we enter into this emphasis of prayer,
I want us to spend time in prayer with God, daily.
One the handout sheet, I’ve put a place for us to put a commitment regarding prayer this month.
I want to ask you to make your own commitment to prayer this month
Increase the frequency of prayer for this month.
Increase the amount of time of prayer this month
If you are available, come on Wednesdays from 11:00-1:00, and/or 5:00-7:00 PM, even if you have only 15 minutes, join us for that time.
We want to know and publish your prayer requests.
We want to post requests for prayer, publicly, and want you to participate.
We’ll post more on Facebook about this this month, too.
We have new communication cards, please take one and turn it over.
Write your prayer request, today, that you want us to remember in prayer this week.
Each week, put it in the offering.
Make sure I have your card before you leave, today.
IF MY PEOPLE
WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME
- Will Humble Themselves and Pray
Prayer is What God wants us to do,
And He also asks us to be humble in our prayer.
To repent of our self-centeredness.
Are we really so important?
TO repent of our self-sufficiency
Do we really think we can be successful apart from God’s Plan?
To turn from our rebellion
Is our heart really in rebellion against authority, and therefore, we are in rebellion against God?
To remember who He is and
To remember that we come from the dust of the earth at His command.
Remembering who God is, and who we are is the beginning of true humility.
“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”
I really believe that there are many believers in America who are tired of prayer and tired in prayer.
They may not readily admit it, but they are.
This would be reflected in the frequency of prayer and length of time that they pray.
I want to challenge us,
if we are “tired” in prayer,
to humble ourselves, even more, and for this month,
to encourage each other to pray more.
In prayer, focus upon God.
Worship Him, and let’s bring the needs of others
and our own needs to Him.
IF MY PEOPLE WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME WILL HUMBLE THEMSELVES AND PRAY AND …
- Seek My Face
God calls us to seek Him, and Him alone.
If we will seek Him, He will be found.
Jeremiah 29:13 says,
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jesus, later, said,
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
As we pray,
we are seeking
- His kingdom,
- His righteousness.
God is looking for worshippers who will worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.
As we seek God, He finds us, too, and comes to us. As James wrote:
Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Let us come to God,
- seeking Him,
- His Kingdom and
- His Righteousness.
But, we cannot seek Him if we are not also repenting.
IF MY PEOPLE WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME SHALL HUMBLE THEMSELVES AND PRAY AND SEEK MY FACE AND TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS…
- Turn from Our Wicked Ways
We are in a relationship with God through Jesus because we have turned from sin,
and turned toward Jesus,
but sin is stubborn, and doesn’t let go too easily.
We need to let go of sin.
We need to let go of
- sinful attitudes….
- sinful thoughts….
- selfish cravings…
- the ease of allowing anger, frustration, and depression TO CAPTIVATE
The context of this statement is that
when things are going wrong,
if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and turn from their wicked ways….
there is an understanding that we bear some of the responsibility for our problems.
Yes, I live in a fallen world, and that is why illnesses, unemployment, troubled economies, broken relationship happen.
But, we also need to understand our own responsibility.
And we do that by humbling ourselves
In all of this, God is promising something to us.
- The Results
I will hear
I will forgive
I will heal
I WANT TO SHARE THE SECOND HALF OF THIS VERSE NEXT WEEK, AND WE WILL FOCUS UPON GOD’S RESULTS.
BUT FOR NOW,
Let us pray
Let us humble ourselves
Seek His Face
Turn from Wickedness
Expect Him to Hear
Receive His Forgiveness
Look for His Healing and restoration.
SING “AS WE CRY”