When My People Pray

We are being encouraged to increase the frequency of our prayers and increase the amount of time that we pray.

Two weeks ago, we looked at the first half of 2 Chronicles 7:14, and this week we will look at it, again. We focused upon the first part of the verse which is the CONDITIONAL part…

IF my people will pray

Today, we look at the RESULT of the condition…

If—then or therefore

It is the relationship between

  • what God calls us to do and
  • what He plans to do in response.

Let’s look, again, at this 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

Last time, we looked at the first part of this verse, and we broke it into these parts:

  • If My People
  • Who Are Called by My Name
  • Will Humble Themselves
  • Pray
  • Seek My Face
  • Turn From Their Wicked Ways

 God calls us His People…Is that not an awesome statement?

Most of us in this room are called by American society, “Baby Boomers.”  Some of us are part of “Generation X.”  Some are “Millennials” and our children here in church are “Post Millennials.”  But according to God, we are “His People,”

And that is because…we believe in the gift of God’s Son, Jesus, the Messiah.

  • Jesus bought us with the payment of His blood and
  • Proved that his sacrifice was sufficient by his resurrection from the dead.

We who are His people are to be humble, Yet, many people think this is the opposite of how we act. We need to change that by being even more humble.

And in Humility, meeting with our Father in the Name of Jesus, we need to pray even more; Seek God’s Face…kingdom and righteousness; Repent and stay away from sinfulness…

Then God promises two things:

  • To Hear
  • To Respond, Favorably

I am a realist, I think (I hope) and I am a man of faith in God.

God answers our prayers, because He hears them.

Now, let’s consider the whole verse, again.

It sounds like a formula.

When I was a teenager, I worked for the summer at a paint store, and I was trained to mix automotive paint. We did this by weight,

  • and we would begin with an empty can,
  • then fill it with the base or majority paint,
  • then we would add other colors to make the specific type of color…
    • not just grey,
    • but charcoal grey…
    • but not just charcoal grey, but phantom grey.

So, as a formula, God begins with His People, and He tells to add

  • 1 part humility

plus

  • 1 part prayer

and

  • 1 part seeking face of God and
  • finally one part of repentance, and

viola

God hears, and answers favorably.

To look at it as a formula might cheapen it, and I am not trying to do that…I am not trying to dumb this down. But, let it become a way of life…When we come before God, let us do so in HUMILITY By PRAYER, SEEKING HIS FACE…not our own ideas or opinions…And TURN FROM WICKEDNESS

It is a way of life

God calls us into relationship

He offers to HEAR  and RESPOND FAVORABLY

And this is what we need.

  1. Hear

Let us believe that He indeed hears us…He knows what we are about to pray for before we even ask.

He knows our thoughts…He longs to hear from us…he wants to hear us, so, we must pray….Yes, He can read our thoughts, but He created us as beings who can communicate, (which is part of the understanding of being made in God’s Image),

God communicates, thus He longs for us to communicate with Him. When We Pray, let us remember that He loves WHEN WE PRAY.

He hears us.

David recognized that it is the righteous that God hears:

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;

    he delivers them from all their troubles.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted

    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.   Psalm 34:17, 18

And John wrote to the church that God hears us when we pray according to God’s will:

 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.      1 John 5:14, 15

Our prayers are even described as incense before the Lord.

… the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. Revelation 5:8

He hears us.   We must believe this.

David wrote:

Where can I go from your Spirit?

    Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there;

    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

    if I settle on the far side of the sea,

even there your hand will guide me,

    your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me

    and the light become night around me,”

even the darkness will not be dark to you;

    the night will shine like the day,

    for darkness is as light to you.

Psalm 139:7-12

So, yes, He hears us, and therefore, Satan wants to stop us from praying.

Each of us who has endeavored to increase the amount of time we pray this month, or the amount of times we pray, has probably found it not only difficult as a new discipline, but we have found many things to complicate our time.

I’ve had many unusual things happen during this month of prayer, that have come down hard on me, and have blocked me from GIVING as much time as I had hoped, but I’m still pushing through.

Satan is at work, and he will try to keep us from praying, because he knows God hears us. And He knows that God will answer, favorably.

  1. Respond Favorably

This is a delicate area for many people. There are those who say God doesn’t heal today. There are those who say He does, but with limitations. There are those who SAY if you pray X number of times then God will answer.

The favorable responses in 2 Chronicles 7:14 are

  • forgiveness of sin and
  • healing of their land.

The first favorable response that God lists is forgiveness for sin.

When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, there were two trees mentioned, specifically.

Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.   Genesis 2:8, 9

God told man to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but man, through the Tempter, ate of it, and man was exiled from the garden.

The earth that man was supposed to rule, now was spoiled by sin, and from that spoiled land man would receive his sustenance.

God promises forgiveness and the healing of our land.

We fully understand this in the sacrifice of Jesus, through whom all of our sin is forgiven, if we believe in His death and resurrection.

We need to be reminded of

  • our fallen state without Christ, and
  • our forgiven status with

Thank God for His forgiveness, through which we have eternal life, that we are living even now,

  • as we no learn to let go of grudges,
  • as we learn to let go of bad habits,
  • as we learn to let go of greed, and give God at least 10% of our income and give to those in need
  • and as we learn to let go of our loneliness,
  • and let go of our independence that sometimes leads to idolatry…

…as we are letting go, we are experiencing the beginning stages of eternal life even now. This is because we are Forgiven. 

There is so much more to say about forgiveness, but let share one Scripture that is incredible:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.    1 John 1:9

It sounds like a formula, again.

If…then

If we confess our sins, then we’ll be forgiven and John expounds more and says we will be PURIFIED.

Notice, too, that John describes God’s character, WHICH is why He not only Forgives, but Also Purifies.

He is Faithful…Faithful to forgive the one who confesses his sins

But He is Just…Full of Justice, and doesn’t want us to live forgiven and yet impure.

Remember, God removed Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden after they sinned, but it was not just a punishment, or result of their sin, it was an act of mercy.

21 The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”  Genesis 3:21-22

God didn’t want man to live forever in a sinful state.

His character is Mercy, Faithfulness and Justice.

Thus, He calls us to Call to Him, and be forgiven and healed.

The natural question for us now is why doesn’t God heal us every time we pray?

I don’t really know.

But what I do know is that God promises to answer favorably.

How is God going to answer our prayers right now?

For example, Andrew Brunson is the American pastor imprisoned in Turkey today under false accusations…I am not in his place or situation…How can I say that God will do what He has promised and answer favorably?

It is by trusting in God while we are praying.

Andrew Brunson, like all ministers who serve in other countries, counted the cost before setting foot in Turkey. He knew that this could happen.

He continued to count the cost when three Christians were martyred in 2007.

He continued to count the cost.

While I pray for his release, I know that God called him to serve those people in the way that he has served, and God has walked with Andrew during this troubling time.

Andrew is not the only person in prison, but thousands of Turks are in prison since the attempted coup in July.

I pray that God’s Will be done in Andrew’s ministry, which continues through his unjust imprisonment.

Before 9/11, there were several Christian ministers  who were abducted by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

I pastored a church that I started in Almaty, Kazakhstan at that time.

Our church in Kazakhstan began to pray and ask God to release those missionaries.

I didn’t realize at the time that I had even had coffee with one of them when I had visited Pakistan earlier in the year in 2001.

But we were fervently praying.

Our church members did not watch the news, though, so when the missionaries were freed (after 911), I preached a message about how God answers prayer.

And at the end (in one of my favorite memories of ministry), as I announced to the congregation that the missionaries had been released,

And then this church of about almost 200 people, all rose and shouted praises to God and thanksgiving.

Then, sacrificially, this very financially-challenged congregation, gave an offering of $1500 to bless the churches of Afghanistan.

These former Communists and former Muslims were experiencing Eternal life, letting go of their anger toward Afghanistan, and letting go of their funds to bless that land.

What will God do for us?

God wants us to pray, and

When we pray,

God is at work!

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

Let’s pray

 

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