. . . the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined.” From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.
— Matthew 4:16-17
In the beginning of the book of Revelation, we see the glorified Jesus addressing His seven churches in Asia minor. We don’t have to look past the first one to see God’s concern about their direction. Ephesus, was at first commended for their good deeds, but then quickly rebuked for their disobedience, “You have forsaken the love you had at first” (Revelation 2:4). Then He called them along with four others to repentance. Are we there yet in America as we begin 2022?
Dr. David Jeremiah in a recent sermon said it well, “God has pushed the pause button on the whole world. He has given us an opportunity for a restart.” But what will it take for us to restart and return to Him? I believe it will require a people who are deeply committed to God’s word and repentance that begins with confession and prayer.
George Mueller of Bristol, England, gives us a great historical example. He obtained the English equivalent of almost ten million dollars in his lifetime through prayer for his homes for orphans. He never asked anyone but God to provide for the needs. Mueller didn’t pray for a thing just because he wanted it—or even if it was (in his opinion) greatly needed for the Lord’s work. When he was burdened to pray for something, he first checked the Scriptures. Sometimes he would search the Word for days before he would pray about his burden.
Commenting on his method of prayer, Mueller said he would search Scripture “not for the sake of the public ministry of the Word, not for the sake of preaching on what I meditated upon, but for the sake of obtaining food for my own soul. The result I almost always found was that after a very few minutes my soul was led to confession, or to thanksgiving, or to intercession, or to supplication; so that, though I did not, as it were, give myself to prayer, but to meditation, yet it turned almost immediately more or less into prayer.”
Then, with a finger on the promise in his Bible and his heart turned to God, he would plead that promise until he received what he asked for. He always prayed with an open Bible before him.*
Can we pray like that for God to heal our nation and this world? I would suggest that we collectively put our fingers on this promise today from 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 and join together and pray the familiar words:
“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 will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Heavenly Father, let this be the mark of the beginning of our “restart.” Maranatha!
*Alvin J. Vander Griend with Edith Bajema, The Praying Church Sourcebook, Church Development Resources, Muller’s Method, p.340.
To help us walk closer with God and to know Him better