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Friday, March 28, 2008

Building a Foundation For Answered Prayer - Part V

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. 2 Chron 7:14

While it's true that the Lord answers many different kinds of prayer we see, at the end of this verse, what His priorities are. If we understand this, making God's priorities our own will mean that we pray according to His will. Consequently our prayers will be answered.

Forgiveness
As we saw last week, it is God's people who must consciously turn away from sin. This results in an immediate response from Him - He forgives. Before all other answers to prayer, the Lord's desire is to restore the broken Father-child relationship with His sons & daughters. He doesn't hide His face from us any longer than is necessary.

Because of the Fall we have an innate understanding that if we do something wrong we must pay the consequences. As a result, many Christians find it hard to accept God's forgiveness even when they've truly repented. We feel we deserve punishment and the tendency is to think that we don't deserve restoration of relationship with God. Like Adam in the Garden we want to hide from Him.

But Scripture is very clear. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1). He has paid the price and there is nothing more required of us. As long as we behave as though we deserve condemnation, we are of no use to God. We are doing nobody any favours if we continue to mourn over our sin when the Lord has forgiven us and wants us to move forward. We must not stop at repentance. We must accept forgiveness and move on. This is God's priority for His people.

Healing of the Land
The healing of God's people from sin and the healing of the nations are often linked in Scripture. Healing of the land equates to the coming of the Kingdom. A kingdom is simply a place where a king rules. The Lord Jesus Himself said that we should seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matt 6:33). In fact, He makes these things a condition for answered prayer in other areas, thus confirming the priorities we see in 2 Chron 7:14.

When the Kingdom of God has become a reality in our personal lives it can begin to be formed in our families, our communities and our nations. But we have to do our part. The promise of a healed land is conditional on us doing those things we've been studying in the past few weeks. Above all, we must actually pray, as Jesus taught us, "your Kingdom come."

As we've said numerous times before, we should be specific. When Caleb, a man in his eighties, entered the Promised Land, he asked for a mountain. He did not say, "give me a mountain," but, "give me this mountain" (Josh 14:12). As we seek to see God's kingdom and rule established in our nations, we need to start to pray for specific situations and specific people. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit we should be praying in the manner of Caleb.

Prayer College Assignment
The Lord Jesus told his disciples that their faith could move mountains (Matt 17:20). Seek God's face and search your heart. He will give you a passion to claim a particular mountain. Perhaps it will be to reach a certain family or neighbourhood with the Good News; perhaps it will be to see ungodly legislation overturned; perhaps it will be for a reduction of crime in your city. Whatever it is, the Lord has a specific mountain for you to tackle in prayer. If you make as your priorities, first maintaining your personal relationship with God and secondly praying for your mountain, you will begin to see more fruit in your prayer life.

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