For decades, a majority of prayer events and gatherings that I have participated in used or mentioned 2 Chronicles 7:14 as a promise of God to restore a nation if certain criteria are met.
“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” (NLT).
This past year a new wave of ministries and events have again held this verse up as a rallying cry to pray for our nation. I may get angry letters from readers, but I have to admit that I have seen this verse used so many times to rally prayer for our nation, that I sometimes grow weary of hearing it!
But that changed recently as I realized that if you look at the preceding verse (verse 13), I think we are closer to seeing the answer to our prayers than ever before! Verse 13 states:
“At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues [pestilence, NASB] among you” (NLT).
Verse 14 appears somewhat conditional as a response to verse 13. While I certainly have always believed that verse 14 was a true principle of God, and no ministry that used it prior to 2020 was wrong to do so, few would argue that prior to 2020, we were experiencing the truth of verse 13. We prayed with a faith based on verse 14, because we knew we needed spiritual revival! But we were not really experiencing the conditions of verse 13. Yet . . .
In 2020 we have certainly had what many could call pestilence, plagues, unusual weather issues and crop devourment. We have experienced a virus attacking people and destroying our economy causing jobs to be lost, plus hurricanes, tornados and fires destroying crops and property. Add to that riots and violence in cities, and this has been quite a year.
Has it been a judgment of God upon us? Quite possibly. But even if He did not deliberately send it all as a punishment, He allowed it all. He intends to display His glory and power through it all.
I take great hope that soon, the promises of verse 14 will be answered! We will soon experience, as a nation, the end results of forgiveness and restoration of our land!
. . . Unless of course, we are only a few years away from the tribulation and the ultimate prayer we seek. But I will take that end result, too! Maranatha!
–Jonathan Graf is the publisher of Prayer Connect magazine and the author of Make Us One: A 31-Day Prayer Journey Toward Racial Healing.