“I have heard your prayer . . . 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

Solomon’s Temple was dedicated between the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles. These were the holy days when almost all of Israel would be in Jerusalem to fulfill God’s Commandment from the Law to attend these major feasts. As the ceremony began, the Ark of the Covenant was brought from the City of David to the new Temple to be placed in the Holy of Holies. Then came the rest of the priests and the Levitical choirs singing, “For He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever” (Psalm 136). Then “the glory of the LORD filled the temple” (2 Chronicles 7:1).

When the grand and majestic festivities were over, the people left for their homes but God wasn’t finished. He then appeared to Solomon privately during the same night and said to him perhaps one of the most famous statements and promises regarding prayer in all of Scripture. When God’s people pray, things begin to happen. That was God’s promise to Solomon then and that’s His promise to us today. But what does it take? I believe God has given us the outline for powerful prayer in this beautiful passage. Let’s begin:

If My people who are called by My name, humble themselves . . .
This may surprise you but the word “if” is used over 1500 times in the Bible. Most of the time it is an introduction to a statement of conditions. When it is joined with the word, “then” it implies that something will happen as a result when those conditions are met.Humility is pride’s opposite. Pride is a synonym for arrogance, or the attitude that I can do it on my own, I don’t need anyone’s help. Humility, on the other hand, means a lowliness of mind, not having an inflated opinion of ourselves and our ability. Paul told the Romans, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment . . .” (Romans 12:3). Peter adds, “Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6).

and pray and seek My face . . .
First of all, we have to pray. The Bible says, “You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2). It’s like God places this banquet table of blessings and everything we need in this life before us, and He says, “Just come before Me and ask. I want to bless you, I want to meet your needs, and I want you to be successful and full of joy.” But God also desires a personal, intimate relationship with us. He wants to speak with you, “face to face . . . as a man speaks with his friend,” as He did with Moses (Exodus 33:11). Rote and repetitious prayers mean little to God (Matthew 6:7-8). He may not speak to us in an audible voice but He knows how to speak to our hearts.

and turn from their wicked ways . . .
Let’s face it once and for all church. If I may borrow from the lyrics of that popular classic Nat King Cole song of yesteryear, it’s time for us to “straighten up and fly right.” I have counseled so many people over my many years as a pastor (including myself) who want God’s blessings in life but they don’t want to give up their sinful ways and be obedient to Christ’s commands (John 15:9-10). Sometimes pastors hesitate to even mention sin in their sermons for fear of offending some in their congregations. Well my friends, sin is sin, whether we like the word or not. So let’s stop it and do what is right, so God can bless us.

then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and heal their land.
That’s what God did when we came to Jesus Christ. We heard the message of His forgiveness and He heard our prayer of repentance and we received His free gift of grace and He healed our lives. He saved us for all eternity.

Can there be any doubt that the Lord of the Universe, who holds all things in His hands, desires to answer our prayers if we will but ask and keep on asking in faith believing? Let’s make a renewed covenant of prayer today that we’ll meet those conditions and receive the promises. Maranatha!

To help us walk closer with God and to know Him better

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