We continue on the study how we can more effectively be heard by God. We are using 1 Chronicles 7:14 as a guide for this lesson. In the last lesson, we discussed the first three points in this promise that God gave to Solomon: we must be his people, be called by his name, and then humble ourselves before we go to the next step.
2 Chronicles 7:14 King James Version (KJV)
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
This whole study is on the activity of Prayer. We have already spent a lot of time on prayer, and will be going further into it throughout the rest of this study, so I won’t spend much time here. Just a few scriptures to keep the word active.
Mark 11:24 King James Version (KJV)
24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
These words of Jesus are very powerful. Putting this in context as we look back in the previous verses. Jesus and the disciples walked past a fig tree that looked like it was in season to produce fruit. When they went up to the tree there was no fruit. Jesus says that the fig tree would not produce any fruit forever. The next morning, they came by the same tree and it was withered and dried up and the disciples were amazed.
When we pray for the right reason it will be answered. This fig tree is symbolistic of those who show on the outside the fruits of righteousness but inside they are dead and non-productive. Jesus wants all of us to be fruitful, not just what people see but what is inside of us. This fig tree was hypocritical in a sense, and we must not have hypocrisy in our lives. He goes on to say that we can move a mountain if we believe. If we are desiring the things of God, our prayers will be answered if we believe that God will answer them. This is not a call that we can pray for anything we want. It has to line up with God’s word. The whole body of scripture on prayer needs to be taken together, not individual verses.
Matthew 6:7 King James Version (KJV)
7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
Jesus tells us that we should not use meaningless repetitions. He wants us to pray from our hearts with our own words, not our heads prayers that we have learned. This is a key to being heard, He says. Even those that don’t believe can pray vain repetitions which are words that are just written by somebody to repeat over and over again. They become commonplace and really don’t mean anything to me personally.
My prayers need to be personal ones that tell God what is in my heart. I know that a lot of people pray the Psalms on a regular basis. I would recommend that you not necessarily pray exactly what’s in the Bible, although that is a good thing. I would suggest that you write out the Psalm that you want to pray in your own words and make that your prayer. Psalm 119 is a great place to start because it is full of request to know God’s Word better.
James 5:16 King James Version (KJV)
16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
James tells us to pray for one another. Intercessory prayer is critical to God and critical to the church. It is much more powerful for us to pray for somebody else that it is to pray for ourselves. Jesus rarely prayed for himself, and when He did it was asking God to help Him do God’s will.. We will be covering intercessory prayer in much more detail in a future lesson.
1 John 3:22 King James Version (KJV)
22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
This portion of scripture tells us that if we ask, we will receive IF we keep his commandments and do things that are pleasing in his sight. That’s a very big IF! God desires to honor our prayers. How much do we want His call on our lives? The more we follow His call and follow His commandments, the more we will see our prayers answered. The prayer of faith is powerful and when we walk in that faith and trust in God’s commandments to guide our path, He will answer
SEEK HIS FACE
We have covered this in-depth in Chapter 2 but it won’t hurt to look at it again briefly.
Deuteronomy 4:29 King James Version (KJV)
29 But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
Psalm 119:2 King James Version (KJV)
2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.
If we seek the Lord with all our heart, we will find him. As we said before, He’s not hiding. He’s right there waiting and hoping that we will call on Him. God does not force himself upon us, or into our lives. He wants to bless us, He wants to have a relationship with us. God does not move away – it is us who move away from Him.. And if we seek Him with all the we have we will find Him. I believe this applies to absolutely everyone, even those who say there is no God. If they seek Him with all their heart, they will find Him.
Psalm 105:4 King James Version (KJV)
4 Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.
Seeking His face means to be able to stand before Him. I don’t know about you, but I love to be in His presence. But we cannot stand in His presence if we have sin in our lives. We need strength from Him to carry out His commandments so that we can stand in that place. The next portion of this verse deals with the sin we may have. One more verse on seeking first.
Hosea 10:12 King James Version (KJV)
12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.
We have spent quite a bit of time on this already so I will not spend a lot of time here, but it’s important that we break up the hardheartedness that we may have when we want to seek the Lord. We should prepare ourselves to seek Him because we will find that we get better results. If we come to him with pride and arrogance demanding to see Him that, will not work. We should be walking in His righteousness and mercy.
TURN FROM YOUR WICKED WAYS.
We need to repent of the things that we have done that don’t line up with the Word. If you would like to do a great daily bible study on repentance, I suggest you go to Amazon.com and buy the book entitled “The Walk of Repentance” by Steve Gallagher. It is an amazing 24 week journey, and you will not regret it. We need to walk with a repentant heart on a daily basis because we are sinners saved by grace. There is never a day goes by that we don’t need to repent before the Lord, that we don’t need to turn from our Wicked Ways and come to Him.
Isaiah 55:7 King James Version (KJV)
7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
God will have mercy on us if we forsake our wicked ways. That means leaving them behind. Not just our actions, but our thought life as well. God knows all that we think, every word out of our mouth, every action we take. Can you honestly stand before Him and say that there is not a single ungodly thing in your life? I can’t! If I turn away from these things, He will abundantly pardon me. That sounds good!
Ezekiel 18:21 King James Version (KJV)
21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
I want to live, and I want to live in close relationship with God. God promises me life if I turn away from my sins and do those things that are lawful land right. This is a promise from God to every man not just a Christian. It is imperative that we get rid of our Wicked Ways
Ezekiel 18:31 King James Version (KJV)
31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
He will give us a new heart and a new spirit when we get rid of our sin. We need this because our old heart is full of transgression and bad deeds. The spirit of this world is within us and it causes us to follow after the statutes of the world. If we turn from our transgressions and our sins, then God will give us these things so that it will be easier for us to steer clear of them in the future. In the New Testament, we read that when we are in Christ, we are a new creation – I needed that once He saved me
Joel 2:12-13 King James Version (KJV)
12 Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:
13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORDyour God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.
We need to turn to God and fast, mourn and weep over our sin. Ask God to take it away. He tells us we need to rend our heart. This is an interesting phrase. Throughout the Bible, we can see places where people tear their garments because of sin. This is a sign of remorse and of sorrow over the sin that’s been in the nation or in their lives. Once the sin has been revealed, they would rend their garments. God wants us to rend our hearts instead of our clothing. When we rend our hearts because we are torn apart by the sin in our lives, this is a sign of a contrite heart to God, which He honors. Psalm 5i:17 says that a broken spirit and contrite heart are sacrifices to God that he likes. When we are broken before Him, God is gracious and merciful to us.
THEN WILL I HEAR FROM HEAVEN
After all this has been done. After we humble ourselves and pray and seek his face and turn from our wicked ways then God says He will hear from heaven. This is an exciting promise! Psalm 34:15 tells us that his ears open to the cry of the righteous. Isaiah 59:1 says His ear is not heavy that it cannot hear but our sins have caused us to be hidden from Him, and He will not hear. Psalm 66 18 says if I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me. All these things show us that it is important to come to God in the right manner if we want to be heard!
Let’s finish one more scripture:
1 Samuel 8:18 King James Version (KJV)
18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day
The Israelites had decided to choose a person from among them for their King instead of keeping God as their leader. God granted their request and gave them Saul, but He gave them a warning as well. This shows us that God will answer prayer even if sometimes it will be detrimental to us. God warns them that if they do this thing, and take Saul for their King instead of God, there will come a time that they will call on Him and He will not hear them.
I for one do not want that to happen in my life. I don’t want someone on the throne of my life besides God. That includes putting myself on the throne. If God is not King of Kings and Lord of Lords in my life, He just may not hear me when I cry out to Him. He has given us plenty of warning and He has given us this portion of scripture as a guide to be more effectively heard in our prayer life. I for one truly desire my prayers to be heard by God and I don’t want to have any questions in my mind as to whether He heard me or not. So, I’ll do all I can to keep this portion of scripture and to study it and to know what God expects. My prayer life will benefit when I do!