If 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.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
I found this verse repeating in my head, so I posted it in a place where I’d see it every day, a place where I typically pray for my friends and family as I’m starting my day. I continued my routine of praying for various people, and the verse stayed on my wall for probably three weeks.
I came to understand the power of this statement: “If my people, who are called by my name…” I realized I had always skipped over this part and automatically thought of wicked people, proud people, those not seeking God, and those who perpetuate evil. If they would just turn to God, He could do a great work in their land and life. So I was praying for these other people to turn to God. Slowly, I began to see “If my people,” and figured it must mean believers who have turned away from God.
One morning during the same time period, it dawned on me that I was avoiding praying for one of my friends. I had prayed so many times over the years, and felt she just didn’t want to change her life, although she claimed she did. I found I couldn’t pray a sincere prayer, because I was blaming her for her circumstances. For some reason, that morning it became a conscious realization that I had stopped praying for this person.
At that point I happened to look up and saw 2 Chronicles 7:14. Uh oh, this is me. I am acting proud, I am not praying for this person, I am not seeking God for her, my own wicked heart has hardened. Wow — this verse is not about unbelievers turning to God; it’s about God’s own children who have hardened their hearts in various areas and, in doing so, are blocking His healing in that area. That concept changed my theology. It gave me power, and along with it, responsibility.
The prescription was clear, if I do the things described in this verse, God will hear me, forgive me and heal my land (in this case my circle of friends and family.) In fact, in the very next verse God promises even more: “Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.” (2 Chronicles 7:15) Well, that’s exactly what I want.
I took the advice. I confessed my sin and turned from my own wicked ways by beginning a 30-day intercession period for that friend I had neglected. I don’t live near her, so I don’t see the day-to-day happenings of her life. However, I heard from a mutual friend who has had the same hardened heart toward her that I did, but he had more influence in her life. When I told him what I had done, he said, “Oh, so you’re the reason.” It turns out his heart was changing toward her, which he was quite surprised about. This taught me even more about this principle.
While the verse in context of 2 Chronicles 7 is about the literal land of the Israelites after a series of plagues, the principle still stands in my situation, because both the healing of land and the healing of lives are spiritual battles, greater than we are. In scientific terms, there’s no way repentance and receiving God’s forgiveness can cause the literal land to heal itself from lack of rain and the devastation of locusts. And there’s no way my repentance from a hardened heart alone could change my friend’s life or my other friend’s heart. It’s only God’s mighty hand that supernaturally acts in our favor that accomplishes these things.
So I learned that this principle is not about my efforts to right the wrongs of the world. It’s all about me humbling myself before God in a way that aligns with Him and continually seeks His ways instead of my own. When I do this, God’s power is unleashed in areas beyond my control and in ways that are unimaginable to me.
As His people, we have the power. The healing of our land and circle of influence is dependent on our humbled hearts, our prayers, our seeking God and our repenting. That’s when God hears our prayers and can act on our behalf.