If my people, which are called by my name, shall 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.
We have had a very long dry spell, with no rain or snow to speak of for a couple of months at least, so I was happy to hear the forecast of snow. I had prayed for rain or snow a few times but not desperately, but I was thinking of how God shows Himself through such things. Into my head popped 11 Chronicles 7:14, so I read it and the verse before and the one after.
I thought, "There's more to it than this one verse!" The verse just before says, "If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people"
I'm pretty sure that was no coincidence, since I had just been contemplating the dry weather.
Good lesson, right? Except that I hadn't quite got what God wanted to show me.
The next time I picked up my Bible, I turned to that scripture again and this time I read the entire chapter. This word came from God after the dedication of Solomon's Temple. It dawned on me that we need to take this in the context that we are now the Temple (1 Corinthians 3:16). What he promised and warned Israel at the dedication of Solomon's Temple holds true to His temple today.
Interesting! Good revelation.
I went to bed early and woke up about an hour later with that verse on my mind. As I went through it in my mind, God emphasized "WHICH ARE CALLED BY MY NAME." That means us, fellow Christians. Of course. Don't we always think that, preach that, pray that? We, who are called by His name should humble ourselves and pray... oh, wait.
Yes, we get that far. And then we go off into this "Pray for our nation" thing, which is not at all what the verse says. It says that if we will humble ourselves and pray, and take the time to really seek God's face AND turn from our wicked ways, then He will forgive our sin and heal our land.
There is sin in the church today. There is sin in the body of Christ, in His temple. This is what must be dealt with. This is what God is saying. First, we must examine ourselves and we must allow God to examine us and then we must sincerely repent of our sins.
That doesn't happen overnight. Some things we have to struggle with, but when we have truly repented (turned completely away from our sin), then God will heal our land and not from a lack of rain. We know what needs to be healed.
It's a promise. So while you're praying for yourself, pray sincerely for others in the body of Christ, not with an arrogant spirit, but humbly with a heart willing to bear another's burdens.