December 26th

 

Repentance and Answered Prayer

“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 will forgive their sin and heal their land.”  2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV 

This verse may be familiar to many of our readers.  I’ve been familiar with it for a few years, but only just recently considered its impact on repentance and answered prayer.  It makes an excellent repentance model for those who are “backsliding” in their walk with God.   

In the verse, God is speaking to the people who are called by his name.  He identifies three conditions for their repentance:

To humble ourselves is to give God his rightful place in our lives as Master, Lord and King.  Everything we do should reflect the fact that we are submitted to his authority (James 4:7).  This is much easier said than done, as it strikes at the core of our human pride and independence.  Humility before God requires that we surrender the control of our lives to God.   

Praying and seeking God’s face will be part of humbling ourselves before God.  When we submit our lives to God, we need to be in constant touch with his heart, his desires and his will so that we are in alignment with him.  Since our hearts are prone to drifting away from God, we need the “alignment check” of prayer on an ongoing basis. Jesus modeled this for us, as Luke wrote, “Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray” (Luke 5:16 NASB).   As a result, he was completely submitted to the Father.  Jesus explained, Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner” (John 5:19 NASB). 

The final condition is to turn from our wicked ways.  When we have prayed and submitted ourselves to the Father, we’ll want to put our wicked ways behind us.  We have the assurance of God’s help in putting our sin habits to death.  Paul wrote, “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you…if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:11,13 NKJV).  The Holy Spirit helps us put our desires for sin to death.  

When we satisfy the above conditions, we have a wonderful promise from God.  God said, “I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”  Healing of the land can apply not only to our country, but also to aspects of our lives – our jobs, families, marriages and relationships.   

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:  “Lord God in Heaven, I see my need for you.  I see the sin in my life that has blocked the healing and restoration that I so desperately need.  I turn away from my sin and ask for your forgiveness and cleansing by the blood of Jesus.  I release the control of my life to you, Lord.  I submit my will to your will.  Please sharpen my convictions of sin and righteousness, and teach me how to put my sinful desires to death the moment I recognize them.  Please help me remember to seek you each day in prayer, staying in close contact with your heart.  I believe in what your word says, and I thank you for the healing that is on the way!  I love you, Lord.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”