When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague 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 I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:13-14
This passage comes in my head a lot. I just remember the part about turning from our wicked ways, and how God will heal the land. I remember it when I think about how many horrible things are going on around me, when I am seeing families fall apart, and when there is just so much hurt all around. I think and wonder how much am I praying when these things are going on? I am called by His name, I am one of His people. Why am I not praying more? Why am I not on my knees asking God to heal this land?
Maybe you wonder that too. Why, as Christians, do we tend to sit around and whine about how bad the world is, and just talk about it like there is nothing we can do? Maybe I am the only one who is guilty of it. No? Do I see a hand out there?? It is hard not to complain about this fallen world we live in. It is hard at times not to live in fear about what can happen to us, but worse, what can happen to our kids. Those things really get to me. In those fearful moments, though, God reminds me that I am not to fear.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
That is one of many verses about fear in the Bible, and how God is our strength. He holds us in His hand. That amazes me. The God of the universe holds us in His own hand.
So, back to the sitting around and whining about this world. There is something we can do. Something that is so powerfully underestimated, it just blows my mind. Prayer. Telling our Father about what we are feeling, telling Him how amazing He is, and asking for things according to His will. Most of my list, I am guessing yours is the same, is for others. Friends going through trials in health, marriage, and finances. There are so many ways to have trouble in this world. There is so much to pray for that many times I get overwhelmed. Thankfully, my God never does.
Prayer does change things, but guess who it changes first? ME. YOU. It changes us. By getting on our knees and humbly asking for the things in our lives, we are letting God know that He is in control. We let Him know that we can not do it without Him. When we pray for our friends, many times, our own sin is seen, and then we repent of that as well. Prayer has amazed me, and I have learned so much about my relationship with God, and seen how much God is at work through the prayers we pray for each other. I see prayers answered all of the time, and it is a privilege to watch. It is also so refreshing to see the bonds formed when we pray with each other. We become less afraid to share, and let other people carry our burdens with us, and we share theirs. That is how it’s meant to be, friends. We were never meant to do life alone, and especially not praying alone.
I challenge you, that when you start talking about how bad things are, will you pray instead? Instead of getting scared when you think of overwhelming things in your life, can you pray? Replace fear, worry, and getting worked up with prayer. Talking about our government, our sin, our divorce rates, and the decline of morality doesn’t do anything to change things. Praying does. We are asking the God of the universe to bend His ear to us, which He says He will. He wants to hear from us. He wants to see us become more like Jesus. This is a discipline that I fear has gotten a bit lost in our day. Can we be the generation that brings it back? What can be better than going to the God in charge of it all, and who knows the whole picture? We get to petition Him, according to His will, of course. We get to ask the God of the universe for the answers to the problems in this life. Then, we get to sit back and watch Him work. Sometimes, we get to wait, and sometimes, our prayers are answered differently than we expect. Like I said, He has the whole picture. I do not, so I certainly have to trust that He has the best in mind for all of us. I know, from experience, that He does.
I urge then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people-for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 1 Timothy 2:1-2