Wow. The last time I posted, I was in Leviticus. Now I’m in 2 Chronicles and it’s only been about a week.
In AACF, we recently had a message about God’s sovereignty (that is, the fact that God does what he wants, whenever he wants because, well, he’s God). Though I absolutely believe and acknowledge this doctrine both in the bible and in my own life, I often frustrated with people who think that God’s conrol over everything justifies laziness in spiritual disciplines. They don’t think they have to evangelize because God will bring his own people to faith. And they don’t have to pray because presumably God will do what he wants to do whether we ask for it or not. I was reminded of this when I was reading through 2 Chronicles and God gave me an answer!
I was shocked. Right there in black ink. God is telling us to pray. After Israel had seen God’s sovereignty, his ultimate rule, undeniable and just. They had gone through their ups and downs, yet they knew God was controlling everything. Kings’ hearts were hardened, the strong were humbled. Just like it says in Proverbs 21:1, “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.”
In worship, King Solomon does as he was told by the Lord. He builds a temple, and the Lord approves of it. Before this, people would often complain to God or cry out to him when punishment seemed imminent. It wasn’t really “prayer,” but it worked in making the Lord relent of his wrath for a little while.
But then this. God appears to Solomon (2 Chron. 7:11) and says something amazing:
“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name 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. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place” (2 Chron. 7:13-15).
That’s absolutely amazing. Our sovereign God (shown in verse 13) calls us to pray, not in vain, but because he wants to listen. He wants us to open his eyes and excite his ears. And if we believe that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, then this means he still wants to hear us pray!
So, I exhort you all to heed God’s desire and pray more. It’s one thing to think that your prayer is in vain, but its another to know that God is eagerly waiting for you to speak to him. He’s not like that friend who always gets distracted mid-conversation (like me), God will listen.