A Great Promise by Pastor Tim Walton

By Pastor Tim Walton from Hope Christian Fellowship

A Great Promise

One of the great promises of God is found in 2nd Chronicles 7:14.  In responding to the prayer of Solomon, God states, “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 forgive their sins, and heal their land.”

Throughout history, God has kept that promise.  Time and again, when, but a few earnest believers have heeded his invitation and begun to seek God in prayer, He has responded with bountiful blessings upon the land in which they lived.

One example of this is the story of Jeremiah Lampheer.  A businessman living in New York City in 1857, he  became burdened for the spiritual condition of his city.  He rented a hall and advertised a lunch time prayer meeting to begin on a certain date.  When that day arrived, only 7 businessmen came to pray.  But the number increased on the second day.  Before long, the fire of prayer grew throughout the city with thousands meeting to pray daily.  Soon after, what historians have called “The Prayer Meeting Revival” swept the city and beyond bringing over a million converts into the fold.  God had honored his promise.

In 1904, a young ministerial student had a growing hunger to see God move upon the nation of Wales.  Seeking permission from his pastor, he held a late night prayer meeting at his church.  Mostly relatives showed up to support him.  But, he did not relent.  Soon, the Welch Revival was born.  People began to flock to churches by the thousands.  Some churches held services that would go 24 hours a day, nonstop.  The word spread and newspapers all over the world sent reporters to chronicle the amazing move of God’s Spirit.  Hundreds of thousands became believers in just 2 years.

 

The Role of God’s People

When we look at the promise that is recorded in 2 Chronicles 7:14, we see 4 distinct conditions that God outlines in order to see healing spread across the land.  But first, he begins with the who.  God places the responsibility upon “my people, who are called by my name.”

The key to spiritual awakening is not the politicians or those in power.  It is not the criminals or the gang bangers.  It is not the philosophers or the intellectuals.  The key is always God’s people.  When God wants to heal the land, he always begins with his people.

When God looks upon a city, he does not see a large, diverse listing of different churches calling themselves by different names.  He sees one people who are called by the name of Christ, who have been called to be part of his family.  They are one in his eyes.  These are the people that he considers the key to the healing of the land.

 

Humility

If this one people, will, first of all, humble themselves.

We Christians like to think of ourselves as a humble people.  However, sometimes we are the most pride-filled people around.  We are too similar to the Pharisee who stood in the temple and thanked God that he was not like “other” people.  Near him stood a tax collector, considered the scum of his community.  This man beat his chest and cried out for God’s mercy upon himself as a sinner.  Jesus said that it was the second man who went home right with God.

We must stop looking others to blame for the decline of the spiritual and moral state of our culture.  We must begin with ourselves.  We must lay aside our pride and self-justification and seek God’s mercy and grace.  We must open our hearts to the ministry of the Holy Spirit and allow Him to shine his light on the recesses of our hearts and reveal attitudes and actions that are grievous to God.

We must stop running around in our own strength and instituting our own man-made plans and programs, and recognize that it is only by God’s hand that lasting good will come.  We must humble ourselves before God.

 

And Pray

Secondly, God tells us to pray.  The great historian of Spiritual Awakenings, Dr. J. Edwin Orr used to love to use the following quote.  “God never does anything, unless he first sets his people a-praying!”  It is an essential truth that prayer never originates in the heart of man.  It is the Spirit of God that moves a man to pray.  In is the deep, compassionate, love of God, that yearns to reach out and heal and set free, and rebuild broken lives, that seeks out willing servants to hear his call and respond in prayer.  Sometimes it begins with one man, or a small group, or a single congregation.  Some revivals have begun with children serving as the initial spark.  But, in every great move of God, it is a burden of prayer created and motivated by the ministry of the Holy Spirit.  If my people will pray!

 

And Seek My Face

The third condition is that we must seek God.

Do you remember when you used to play hide and seek as a child?  Do you ever remember counting down the numbers only to have someone call out, “Not yet!  I’m not hidden yet?”  There is one condition that must be fulfilled before you can seek someone.  He must be hidden!  Does God hide from us?  In a way, yes!

My wife is a dog lover.  There are always a bunch of dogs at our house.  Our original dog, Kyle, is old, half blind, and mostly deaf.  Whenever I throw him a treat, the other dogs scurry around him and get his treat before he is even aware of what is happening.  So, whenever I want to give him something, I must prepare him.  I get his attention, let him smell what awaits him, and position his body in a way that he will be ready to receive.  In this way, I insure that my gift will not be wasted on the other dogs.

That is what God must do with us.  He calls us to seek him as a way of preparing our hearts to receive what he longs to give.  His gifts would be wasted upon us if we aren’t ready.  But, throughout scripture, he constantly promises that if we do seek him, he won’t be hard to find.

When David was dying, he gave advice to his son, Solomon.  He said “Know the Lord, and serve him with a whole heart and a willing mind.”  Then he added, “If you seek him, he will let you find him!”  (1 Chron 28:9)

In that well known passage in Jeremiah 29:11ff, God tells Israel that his plans for them are for a future and a hope.  Then he says, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.  And I will be found by you.”

If my people will seek my face!

 

Turn from Their Wicked Ways

When it comes to sin, God is more concerned with the state of his people than with that of the world.  He knows that a people who are distracted and lukewarm, and enmeshed with the idolatry of the world around them, is a weak people unable to shine like a light in the midst of darkness.  On the other hand, a people who are broken and repentant, who have tasted of God’s forgiveness and mercy, and who are fully devoted to his Lordship, is a powerful people, a group that even the gates of hell cannot defeat!

So, before dealing with the sin of the world, God always begins with the sin of his own people.  He calls us to turn from any ways in our lives that are contrary to his ways.

 

God’s Promised Response

When God’s people obey the conditions he has laid down, God promises to hear, forgive the sins of his people, and heal the land.

Our city cries out for a healing move of God’s Spirit.  There is no greater gift that we can seek for our city.  And it is within our grasp.  That is why God has inspired “Lets Pray.”   He wants to heal our city.  And we are the key.

So, let us humble ourselves, seek God’s face, and turn from our wicked ways.  And, ……….“Let’s Pray!”

Pray without ceasing

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