If my people….

Christ Church Magazine January 2022

I could have gone for the “out with the old, in with the new” or “new year new leaf”. Maybe a motto text to be stuck on the pin board? Then again, I could go for the article that reflects on the past year’s events and attempts to foresee the year to come. Er, perhaps not….

Instead, I’m going to quote a sentence from the Old Testament to encourage us to pray.

Solomon had been praying on behalf of the people he reigned over and knowing they would fall into sin asked God to hear when they prayed and to forgive them. God’s reply is a stand-out verse: ‘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 forgive their sin and will heal their land’ (II Chronicles 7v14). The wayward nation would face drought, famine, or plague as part of God’s discipline, but if humble will be restored.

It’s wrong for a modern nation to take the title ‘God’s own people.’ It was never intended to be applied this way. It was on the day of the Temple dedication that king Solomon had been praying according to God’s will and now he intercedes for the people. He repeatedly asks the Lord to hear his peoples’ prayers and be merciful, to change their hearts and return them to the way of righteousness. God’s reply underlined how troubles arise from sin, while humble repentance leads to restoration. Sure, He’ll answer Solomon’s prayer, because Solomon has been praying according to the Lord’s will.

It is in fact a powerful reminder that we are given an assurance about prayer being heard: ‘This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him’ (1 John 1v14-15).

It is an even greater reminder that we have one who intercedes for us in heaven: ‘Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven,  and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being’ (Hebrews 8v1).

Let’s make 2022 a year in which we diligently pray according to God’s will and expect Him to answer accordingly.

Paul Kingman