Jesus once told His followers that they should always pray and never give up. (Luke 18:1) He meant they should see every situation, condition and occasion as an opportunity for some form of prayer. He also inferred that prayer is an appropriate response, although not the only response, to any situation, condition and occasion. Furthermore, Jesus gave His followers a model for praying – many refer to it as the Lord’s Prayer. Although He did not intend for us to repeat over and over the same words He spoke at the time, He did provide an outline and a tool we can use in creating a proper focus and forming our words in prayer.
The Bible is full of commands and admonishments to pray. The Apostle Paul echoed what Jesus said in Ephesians 6:18 when he said we should pray on all occasions in the Spirit with all kinds of prayers and requests, being alert, watchful and persistent in praying for the people of God (my paraphrase). King Solomon offered prayers at the dedication of the temple in the Old Testament book of 2 Chronicles. In chapter 6, the temple is finished and Solomon speaks his praise and adoration to God. He reminds God of the promises He made to King David (Solomon’s father) and then presents God with several situations and requests on behalf of God’s people. Solomon asks God to hear the prayers of the people and to forgive the people; to judge, bring retribution and justification; to send rain and provision; and to have open eyes and attentive ears to the prayers of the people.
Once Solomon concluded his prayers, there was a move or manifestation of God in the temple. 2 Chronicles chapter 7, verses 1 through 4 say “When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house. When all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed their faces to the ground on the pavement, and worshiped and praised the Lord, saying: “For He is good, For His mercy endures forever”. Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the Lord.” (New King James Version) Solomon engaged in other ceremonial activities over the next few days and then God gave him the answers to his petitions.
2 Chronicles chapter 7, verses 12 through 18 say, “Then the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among 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 I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, and do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom, as I covenanted with David your father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man as ruler in Israel.’” (New King James Version)
God acknowledges the consequences of sin in the land – He refers to physical conditions such as drought, devouring locusts and plagues. And, in the midst of His answer to Solomon is a very popular verse, verse 14 that says “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”. God’s answer to Solomon regarding His people then is still true and applicable to God’s people today. Also, God’s answer applies to any unwanted conditions in the land, whether they be physical, social, economic, governmental or anything else. God told Solomon that change in the land would come as a condition of His people humbling themselves, praying, seeking the face of God and turning from their own ungodliness. God makes it clear that He would ONLY hear petitions for resolving the troubles in the land from His people. WOW!
Historically, what we would call major moves of God in the US and other nations have been preceded by a major movement in which prayer was increased. Eighteenth century minister John Wesley is reported to have said that “God does nothing except in response to believing prayer”. That seems to be consistent with what God told Solomon. It is clear to anyone watching the news and in some places just looking around, there are many undesirable activities occurring in our neighborhoods, schools, cities, states and countries. If we believe the Bible, those activities can be changed through the prayers of God’s people. This is not limited to any one denomination, but is applicable to every individual and group that follows God through Jesus Christ. God’s answer to Solomon about their land is His answer to us today about our land. We must humble ourselves and pray! We must learn to pray better, and we must persist in prayer, assured that God will answer us as He answered Solomon and so many others who prayed before us.
The Prayertime (The Church CAN Do Something) CD consists of a song, three prayers and some fundamental truths on the Importance of Prayer, a Prayer Model and How Prayer Works. The song is God’s Call to His people to pray. The information tells how and the three prayers provide an example and starting point to anyone wanting to pray immediately. God made no provision or commitment to hear or to answer our complaints or our assessments about how bad things are. He did promise to hear and respond to the prayers of His righteous people. According to 2 Corinthians chapter 5, verse 21, you have been made righteous if are in Christ, meaning you have accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord. It reads “For He [God] hath made Him [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin [Jesus]; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him [Jesus].” (King James Version with brackets added for clarity.) If you have not accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord, simply invite Him to come into your spirit right now and live through you. Just tell Him you want His will, way and power in your life. He is delighted to honor your request and will answer you immediately! If you have already done this, then declare your dependency on Him, repent of (change your mind against and turn your actions away from) any condition in your life that is unlike God, believe and declare there’s nothing too hard for The Almighty, and offer up petitions according to His Will/Word. When we do this, He will FORGIVE us, HEAR us and ANSWER us. Let’s all join together in prayer and see God move in response to our earnest requests.
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