Healing Our Land
Written by Stephanie Plumb on June 8, 2020
2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people, who are called by name, will 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.
As believers, we know that prayer is the most powerful thing we can do in times of crisis. Our nation is hurting. People are hurting. And we need God, the ultimate Healer, to intervene.
Whenever times get especially dark, this verse from second Chronicles gets quoted a lot. I like this verse. And for years, I looked at it solely as a reminder that if we want to fix the problems in our community, our state, and our nation, we need to get on our knees.
And that’s true. We need to pray. But recently, I’ve taken a closer look at this verse. It’s not just a call for believers to pray for healing.
If my people…
First, let’s get one thing straight. This verse is telling BELIEVERS to turn BACK to God. Not to police officers. Not to protesters. Not to minorities. Not to white people. Not to Democrats or Republicans or conservatives or liberals. When we, as Christians, turn on the news or scroll through our feeds, it’s not an option for us to pass blame, or say “if only our leaders would step in,” or “if only people would understand/stop/do X-Y-X.” Healing this nation falls on THE CHURCH’s shoulders. This is OUR responsibility.
Will humble themselves and pray…
Before we even approach God in prayer, we first have to humble ourselves. We have to recognize that we are helpless in this situation and that we are incapable of doing anything good on our own. But there is also another reason for humbling ourselves, which is evident in the next part of the verse:
And seek my face and turn from their wicked ways…
This is the part of the verse that we (myself included) like to gloss over. Everyone’s a fan of prayer, because praying, quite frankly, is the easy part. But if we want God to answer our prayers for healing, then we have to do this, too.
We have to stop committing the same sins we have been committing. We have to apologize to the people we have hurt. We have to take ownership of the mistakes we have made and the things we have done (or left undone) that have contributed to the problem. And that, quite frankly, is no fun. It’s hard admitting that you’ve been wrong about something, acted wrongly, been hurtful (even unintentionally). It requires a LOT of humility in today’s world to admit when we are wrong. Maybe that’s why God makes humbling ourselves step one in this path to healing.
I’ve been praying for our nation extra hard over the last few weeks, and I’ve even turned to this verse as I’ve prayed. But the hard truth is this: if I’m not making changes in my own life while I pray, then I can’t expect to see change in our nation any time soon.
So now, while I’m praying for healing, I’m also praying for forgiveness. I’m praying that God will show me how I’ve hurt others so that I can right those wrongs and change my behavior. If my life and my attitude look exactly the same as it did before these last few weeks (and it shouldn’t, because I wasn’t perfect then and I’m not perfect now), then I’m not upholding my end of the bargain described in this verse. So why should I expect God to uphold His end?
I’m praying for the strength and humility to turn from my own wickedness, because true change starts in my own heart first.
Then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.