Keys to Experiencing God: Understanding the Big IF
2 Chronicles 6 and 7 give us a vivid picture of God, and the power of humility, prayer and repentance on individuals as well as a nation. The specific event is the dedication of the Temple by Solomon. The work that he was called by God to do was completed and after the Ark was brought into the Temple, Solomon gave a speech (2 Chronicles 6:3–11) and then opened his arms in a prayer of dedication (2 Chronicles 6:12–42).
Within Solomon’s prayer of dedication is a pattern. He describes a situation of need, temple-centered prayer and requests for a divine hearing, and then he requests a reversal of the situation. King Solomon understood that God’s people would eventually sin and depart from Him. In this prayer of dedication Solomon asked God if He would forgive His people when they cried to Him.
He prays, “If your people Israel are defeated before an enemy because they have sinned against you . . . When the heavens shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against you . . .When there is famine in the land, pestilence or blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers . . “ He points to upcoming problems and challenges and asks God to forgive the people for their sin and disobedience.
Solomon knew God could use drought, famine, plague, mildew, insects and war to discipline His people and bring them back to Him.
In Chapter 7 God gives Solomon the answer: “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 7:13–14).
God makes it clear that He will forgive His people and restore them, IF. He gives four requirements for this revival: humility, prayer, seeking Him and repentance. When people fulfill these requirements, God responds with forgiveness and healing. IF . . .
We cannot expect God to act in us, or through us without these four requirements. We must come humbly to Him and seek His forgiveness and make some changes—repent.
Pastor Lloyd Ogilvie wrote, “Prayer could trigger the grace of God, provided that it was humble prayer that abandoned the brazenness of disobedience and came, cap in hand, into God’s presence at the temple.”
We need to do the same thing. We need to humbly come before God seeking repentance for our nation and ourselves. P. Douglass Small, wrote, “Moments of self-examination and repentance liberate us. Only those times can unlock our entrance into the chambers of prayer that result in confident, faith-filled, Scripture-rooted, history-changing, nation-impacting intercession.”
Let’s humbly come to the Lord, “cap in hand” and on our knees. Let’s seek Him in a spirit of true repentance. Let’s, as Pastor Jack Hayford said when his church felt directed by God to launch a ministry of prayer for the nation, “Take these points [humility, confession and desire for repentance] in prayerful transparency before the Lord. Let us be rid of every hindrance so our boldness in prayer will not be limited.”
Let’s go boldly—all out in our prayers for our own repentance and also for our nation and revival.
Are you with me?