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.
2 Chronicles 7:14
The first time I heard these words set to music was back in 1976 when America was celebrating the Bicentennial. It was a call for God’s people to pray for America because surely our darkest days were ahead. We were still reeling from Watergate and the resignation of President Nixon; soon we would be facing trouble in Iran and long gas lines. Surely, we thought the Lord would be coming soon.
But the message of this verse was often being interpreted to apply to modern day America. In reality it was God’s response to Solomon’s request concerning the people when they sinned.
Still, while this may not apply to America or the world directly, there are principles and basic truths that do apply.
This morning during our communion time, the pianist played a beautiful arrangement of this song and the words came rushing back. “If my people will pray…”
For many of us, life has never been in so much turmoil as it is today. Unrest around the world, continued unemployment, a nation that is divided politically, school shootings and more. And while the fundamental truths of God’s word hold true, these are indeed dark times.
So can we consider that praying this prayer faithfully might turn things around for this country? I don’t know because when I read Scripture I don’t see specific provisions for the United States. Others may, and I’m not an end times scholar. While I believe God has indeed blessed America, I’m just not sure how, or if, we factor into his future plans.
Still the call to prayer rings true. Indeed when we humble ourselves and call on God, recognizing our failures and our weakness, he does hear and answer prayer.
It may not be healing on our land. It might mean healing for our souls.
But it begins with a simple premise…If…If my people will pray.