II Chronicles 7:14 declares, “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.”
To begin with there are two requirements. First, there is the necessity of open identity with God. And second, we must be willing to be known as “His people!” There must be an equally fervent commitment to identity with “His name!” In the Old Testament, the name of Yahweh became offensive in the face of native populations that had a history in the land predating the conquest, and immigrant populations that had been drawn there since the days of David and Solomon. Yahweh was a Hebrew specific deity. It was exclusive. Other tribes and religions didn’t use the term to refer to their god. The use of the name suggested the superiority of the Hebrew faith to other faiths, and the same of Yahweh to other gods. In the same say, in our era, the name of Jesus is seen as offensive. It is specific to the Christianity. Pluralism begs for a more generic term, a less offensive term to other religions. Christianity must now, we are urged, in view of our cultural diversity, take its place among the other faiths in the modern cafeteria of faith choices. Jesus is, allegedly, no better than Mohammed or Buddha, or for that matter, the latest self-declared guru on the Oprah show. Thus, Christians are now being denied the use of the name of their Savior and God, the Second Person in the Godhead, Jesus Christ. But “there is salvation in no other [name], for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). No awakening will come by compromise, by denying Jesus, or the Father, their rightful place of glory and honor.
There are four conditions for a national revival required of people who are willing to openly identify with God and His Name. First, they must humble themselves. Arrogance must go. A humble spirit must be cultivated. Our self-sufficiency and ‘can-do’ fortitude have hit a wall. We need the intervention of God. Nothing else can save us. Second, we must pray. The Hebrew term is palal. It is a courtroom term. It means to intercede, to ask for a favorable judgment, to mediate. Third, we must seek the face of God, not merely his intervening hand. The focus here is relational. The God we have ignored must again be sincerely sought – not merely for our own deliverance, but for the relationship that we have allowed to lapse. Fourth, we must turn from any wicked ways. The Old Testament term, turn is the New Testament equivalent for repent. It is translated many different ways – again, implying renewal; to answer; to bring back; to come back; to be converted; to make them return; to make restitution; to repent and turn away [from sin]; to return [to the Lord]; to turn around.
If we will meet these conditions, God promises to do three things. First, he will hear our prayer. He will answer. Second, he will forgive. He will remove the mass of sin that has prevented blessing from coming. Third, he will heal the land.
Let’s begin today!
This is an excerpt from the Praying Church Handbook, Volume II. The entire four volume set can be ordered at alivepublications.org.