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 ESV
God’s promises often come with conditions. We often want the blessings without doing what God requires.
As we wrap up this look at how to pray during a pandemic, let’s look at the good news that God promises if we do our part.
I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Healing often comes from God forgiving us of our sins. He forgives us when we confess our sins. He hears us when we speak according to the truth. Our whole relationship with God is simply about abiding in the truth.
To get to the forgiveness and healing we so desperately desire, what must we do? We must turn from our wicked ways.
What does it mean to turn from our wicked ways? This is God calling us to true repentance.
First, God calls us to turn our hearts back to Him by seeking His face. Then, He calls us to turn our lives back to Him by forsaking our ways to follow His way.
What are our wicked ways? They are the deeds of the flesh. A believer has two natures that are always at war with each other, the carnal and the divine. We are always in this daily battle until we are released by God’s mercy from this body of sin.
We use our minds to decide what to do. Do we indulge the impulses of our flesh? Or do we submit to the Spirit of God and walk in obedience to God’s laws? You have free will. Decide for yourself.
Perhaps another time we can talk about how to walk in victory and be an overcomer.
The closer you get to God, the more you see how far you are from Him in character. We must keep a humble attitude or we risk becoming prideful and getting condemned like the devil.
Here’s how I test for righteousness. Am I motivated by God’s selfless, self-sacrificing love towards everyone? That’s a pretty high bar. Or low bar actually. Maybe we’re doing the limbo.
That’s what we should aim for, all the time. It’s impossible without God’s Holy Spirit working in you. Humans are naturally selfish creatures.
God is calling out our societal sin. We have been arrogant and self-seeking and called it desirable. We have oppressed the poor and the foreigner and called it justice. We have worshipped money and power instead of God and called it good.
There is hope for the sinner. His name is Jesus. There is no other name by which we can be saved. We have all sinned. We have all fallen short of the glory of God. Our only hope is to humble ourselves, pray and seek God’s face and turn from our wicked ways.
If we don’t, God won’t hear us no matter how much we pray. He can’t forgive us unless we ask to be forgiven.
So what should we do? Each one of us must answer to God for our sin. I encourage you to examine your heart. Examine your deeds. Examine how you invest your time, talent and resources. Examine how you treat other people.
For all those things, ask yourself, is this loving God? Or the things of this world? Is this loving my neighbor? Or just myself?
If you’re like me, you’ll find lots of things to confess as sin. Confession clears the record. When we agree with God, He erases the charge with the blood of Jesus.
Our faith is not one of perfection. It’s one of grace and forgiveness. But we should be growing in Christ, not the ways of the world.
God’s grace is abundant. His mercies are new every morning. This is our moment. Turn to God. Be embraced by the lover of your soul.
How To Pray
Assuming you’ve made it this far and have turned back to God, pray that His will be done on Earth. His will is always done in Heaven. We are the ones who decide if God’s will is done on Earth when we decide whether or not we do what He commands.
So continue to pray that the Holy Spirit would bring people to repentance. Pray that our leaders would have wisdom to rule well. Pray that all believers would share the Gospel freely with everyone they know. Pray that we have humble hearts and consider others as more important than ourselves.
Take care of yourself and each other. God bless you. May you find rest for your soul in Jesus.