Second Chronicles 7:14 is one of the most often cited Scriptures on prayer. Often times, this passage is examined as a prescription for prayer. This is not a prayer prescription. This is God’s response to a prayer that Solomon prayed at the occasion of the dedication of the Temple. We read Solomon’s prayer beginning in 6:12. Beginning in 7:12, we read God’s response to Solomon’s prayer.
While we are still learning much about prayer and when God answers prayers, we can draw several conclusions about answered prayer.
I note these “Four Keys to Positioning Ourselves for God to Answer.”
We can never pray as we ought without humility. Humility is the essence of saying, “I can’t do this by myself. God, I need you.”
Later in this same book (chapter 20) we read about the days of the reign of King Jehoshaphat. Word comes to the King that “a vast number” has assembled against Judah. Jehoshaphat calls the people to pray. In his prayer he says this: “For we are powerless before this vast number that comes to fight against us. We do not know what to do, but we look to you.”
Prayer begins with authentically telling God in word and action, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.”
But then God answers. “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast number, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.
The second key to positioning ourselves for answered prayer is habitual prayer. God’s response to Solomon in 2 Chronicles 7 is that the prayer of dedication is not to be the last prayer offered in the Temple.
Prayer, above most every other thing, is a relationship. We desire answered prayer. God desires relationship. God is the parent who longs for His children to call Him. When children call their earthly parents, sometimes there is a lot to say and sometimes there is not much to say, but parents still want to hear that voice. God wants to hear His children’s voices.
And we are to seek His face. Isn’t that a powerful description of prayer? I am seeking God, but at the same time, I am seeking the will of God. I hear in this phrase that there is a passion to our praying. This is much more than asking God about our “list.” We hunger to see Him. Remember the beatitude in the Sermon on the Mount. Blessed are those who “hunger and thirst for righteousness.” Later in the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 6:33, we read “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be provided for you.” In the context of praying about our needs, our first obligation is to seek Him.
Finally, we position ourselves for answered prayer by “turning from our wicked ways.” You can search the Scriptures and you will note this: There is a connection between obedience and answered prayer. In fact, we see this link in this passage in verses 17-22.
James (5:16) said that we should confess our sins one to the other because, “The prayer of the righteous man is very powerful.”
Some things about answered prayer will always remain a mystery, but we can position ourselves for God to answer. In fact, we can also position ourselves for God not to answer.
If my people….then I will hear, will forgive, and will heal. What wonderful words from our all sufficient God!