For those who are followers of Christ, or who attend or have ever attended Christian churches in the US, at some time, often during a time of national crisis, you have heard this particular passage of Scripture proclaimed:
“…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.” II Chronicles 7:14 (ESV)
In most cases, the message delivered with this passage is presented in our modern context as a call for national repentance in the United States. Such messages often contain references to increasing sinfulness, rejection of God in our country. These messages often seem to suggest that if THOSE sinful unbelievers would just repent that God would deliver us whatever the current trouble was and heal our land.
I have always found these messages puzzling, as it seems that in our churches and among us “church folk,” we tend to forget just who God was speaking to in that passage. He was not speaking to the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Canaanites, the Egyptians, the Amorites, or any other “pagan” peoples who did not worship the God of the bible.
He was speaking to “my people who are called by my name”; in other words, He was talking to HIS COVENANT PEOPLE, the Israelites. He was saying that THEY were the ones who needed to humble themselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from their wicked ways.
To apply this passage in our own times, in our own nation, we must first ask ourselves…WHO are the “my people who are called by name?” In 2020 in the United States, the “people who are called” by God’s name……..are people who go by the designation: “Christian.”
IT IS US! WE ARE THE ONES WHO NEED TO HUMBLE ourselves, PRAY, SEEK His face, and TURN from OUR wicked ways. Not the unbeliever. Not the atheist. Not the agnostic. Not the Muslim. Not the Hindu. Not the Wiccan. Not the entire nation of the United States, but the people who call ourselves “Christians.” We are called by the name of Christ, the Son of God speaking to the Israelites in II Chronicles 7:14.
We are the ones who “bear His name.” We are his representatives; we are his ambassadors.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said the following:
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet…You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In this same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven.” Matthew 5:13-14
We need to ask ourselves, as those who “are called by his name,” are we being salt? Or have we lost our flavor? Are we being a light to the world? If so, why is there so much darkness, so much division, so much anger, so much injustice, so much hopelessness, and despair?
HOW are we bearing His name? What are our “wicked ways”?
If we want to see light, hope, reconciliation, justice, restoration, and peace in our homes, churches, communities..a healing in our land……WE, “the people called” by his name….need to do exactly as God instructs the Israelites to do.
So, Peacemakers Discussion Group is hosting a weekly prayer gathering at Laurel Park in Conway Arkansas to do this very thing: humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways. This is a call to prayer and repentance for those who follow or are seeking Christ. A call for those with a burden and heart for prayer, for the hurting, the lost, for those suffering from injustice. A call for prayer for repentance, revival, reconciliation, justice, restoration, and peace. A call for prayer for the healing of division: racial, political, denominational, etc.
Also, if you are in need of prayer yourself, please join us. We will meet at Laurel Park in Conway, behind the pavilion. Bring a chair. Rain or shine. If rain, we will erect a canopy and/or use the pavilion.
August Prayer Gathering Events:
Sunday, Aug. 9 @ 7 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 14 @ 7 p.m.
Sunday, Aug 23 @ 7p.m
Friday, Aug 28 @ 7 p.m.