JANUARY 5 , 2023
Prayer Makes A Difference
The Lord - “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Prayer makes a difference because God hears and responds to the prayers of His people. Charles Spurgeon said, “The power of prayer can never be overrated. They who cannot serve God by preaching need not regret. If a man can but pray, he can do anything. He who knows how to overcome with God in prayer has Heaven and earth at his disposal.”
In today’s Scripture passage, we find God communicating with His Old Testament people about the importance of prayer. The Israelites, under the leadership of King Solomon, had finally finished building their first Temple. For many years, they had gone to the Tabernacle, a large tent that could be moved from place to place, to worship and pray. But now a permanent place of worship had been established in the holy city of Jerusalem, and in the earlier verses in 2 Chronicles 7, we find the Lord filling the Temple with His glorious presence. Then, He spoke these words to them in verse 14: “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”
God says His people must humble themselves and then pray. Prayer in and of itself is a humbling experience. To pray means we realize that there is someone greater than ourselves from whom we need help, which is a humble acknowledgment. Also, we are reminded that God resists the efforts of those who are prideful (James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5-6). He wants us to come to Him in humility, recognizing our need for Him when we pray.
We should just pray, but we should “pray and seek God’s face.” That phrase indicates that prayer is not just us mumbling a few words to God. It means that when we pray, we are to pray fervently and faithfully. Simply saying a few words of prayer on a daily basis is not enough. We must pray fervently (James 5:16) and we must pray faithfully (Matthew 7:7-11) until we sense God’s presence around us and in us.
When we pray, we are to deal with our sinfulness and we are to “turn from our wicked ways.” Psalm 66:18 tells us that if we don’t deal with the sin in our lives, the Lord will not listen to our prayers. Sinfulness in our lives is a reproach to the Lord because He is a holy God who expects holiness from His people (1 Peter 1:14-16). Recognizing how difficult it is for Christians to live “holy lives” all of the time, the Lord has promised that when we acknowledge and repent of our sins, He will cleanse us from our unrighteousness so we can be holy again in His sight (1 John 1:9). That’s one reason we often need to acknowledge and confess our sins towards the beginning of our prayer times. When we do so, we can be made right with the Lord, and be sure that He is listening and responding to our prayers.
The promise of the Lord in 2 Chronicles 7:14 states that “If we will humble ourselves, pray and seek His face, and deal with the sinfulness of our lives, He will hear our prayers, forgive our sins, and bring healing and restoration to our lives and relationships.” If that’s what you want and need in your life, be sure to make praying fervently and faithfully a daily activity during the 14 Days of Prayer and Fasting.
FOLLOW UP ACTIVITY
Commit to the Lord that you are going to “pray and seek His face” every day during the emphasis. (For a family activity, discuss how important it is to “pray and seek God’s face.” Then, pray as a family and commit to the Lord that you are going to do so throughout the emphasis.)
PRAYER FOR TODAY
Lord, I’m praying that You will work miracles during this prayer and fasting emphasis. I’m humbling myself before You, I’m seeking Your face, I’m turning from ungodly ways so I can experience more of Your presence, know Your will better, and seek miracles of healing, deliverance, restoration, and provision to take place in the lives of people around me, and in our region and nation. In the name of Jesus, Amen.