If My People Will Humble Themselves, Pray, Seek, and Turn

For as long as I can remember, the Scripture from II Chronicles 7:14 has been promoted as a foundational promise for the National Day of Prayer.

National Day of Prayer – "If My People..."
National Day of Prayer – “If My People…”

“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 be merciful to their sins and heal their land.” II Chronicles 7:14

Yet, when I read this passage, I just shake my head thinking, “There is no way this is ever going to happen!” Then I must quickly remind myself that

Without looking at “God’s people” or “the Church” and presume to throw stones of criticism, I will look at my own life. I can ask, “Am I following this Scripture promise? Do I really humble myself or do I still think my interpretation of Scripture and Doctrine is right as compared to Teaching of the Twelve and the Church Fathers? Am I praying “the Prayers” like the first Christians as recorded in Acts 2:42 or making up my own?

“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Acts 2:42

And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers (Gr. the prayers).

All of this is about seeking God’s face and turning from my ways – my ways of self-fulfilling worship style, my systematic theology, my “Jesus” that I’ve created in my own understanding. I have to ask myself, “Do I even know what the Apostles’ Doctrine teaches in contrast to my 21st Century American Christianity?”

Action Plan: Learn Humility and Seek God’s Face. 

God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)

A Prayer for Today

As the deer pants for the water,
so my soul longs for You, O Lord.
I lift up my soul unto You, My God.

Is any thirsty?
Let them drink from the Rivers of Living Water.
Come, Holy Spirit, abide in me,
O Giver of Life and Treasurer of Good Things.
Please open to me the Gates of Repentance!

Create in me a clean heart and renew the right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from Your presence because of my foolish presumption,
but renew in me this presumption:
that I would love You, the One True God,
with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength and
love my neighbor as You gave commandment.

Restore to me the Joy of Your Salvation
and let the bones which You have humbled, rejoice!
In Your presence, there is the fullness of Joy!

Glory to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit –
One God – now and ever, and unto the ages of ages! Amen!

Love you in Christ Jesus!

Fr. Wade+