I see it on billboards, I see it on bumper stickers, I see it on signs in front yards, I see it on Facebook. What do I see? – 2 Chronicles 7:14, “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.” Often with a warning similar to this, “Prayer is America’s only hope.”
Don’t misunderstand what I am about to say. I believe in God who answers prayer. I believe the United States needs to focus on God and godly morals. But his verse is NOT about the U.S. God will not save America because U.S. citizens pray as if they are God’s nation. The United States is not God’s country. The United States is not God’s people. The Church is, Christians are God’s people.
Look at the context of 2 Chronicles 7. When you look back to the previous chapter, you see that this is about when Solomon and Israel dedicate the Temple in Jerusalem. 2 Chronicles 7:14 is a verse about God’s people and prayer – not how to save the United States from political maneuvering.
- If MY PEOPLE. Prayer is a privilege of God’s children. God’s children in the context is Israel. God’s children today are Christians, those born into His family through the blood of Christ.
- HUMBLE themselves. Prayer helps us realize our place in the presence of God.
- PRAY. Talk to God
- SEEK My Face. Not God’s “law” but desire to be in His presence not just to keep the law, but to walk with God.
- TURN from their Wicked Ways. If God’s people (Israel then / His CHURCH today) will repent. Again, if we apply this to the 21st century it is NOT about the United States repenting, but about Christians and the Church repenting.
- I will HEAL. The healing is physical for Israel and is at the least forgiveness of sin for His people today accompanied by the blessings that are in Christ (Eph 1:3-7).
If that is God’s promise to His people about their prayer, what keeps us from praying? What keeps you from talking with God? I have a list of a few common hindrances to prayer that I want to share with you. You may find your hindrance(s) in this list:
- We are TOO BUSY. We rush in an out to and fro during the day. We need to slow down long enough to talk with God. Make prayer a priority. Make time to pray.
- We are NOT PREPARED to Pray. Think about what you want to talk with God about. Consider what the day may hold and pray about those potential events. Reflect on what the day brought and talk to God at the close of the day about those events as you lay down to rest.
- SIN. We are focused on self and sin more than God. We are guilty and know it and are afraid or ashamed to admit our weaknesses to God, or are unwilling to let go of our human desires. (Isa 59:1-2)
- DOUBT. We doubt we are good enough. We doubt God cares. We doubt our request is as important as other things God has to deal with. We doubt so we do not pray or we pray half-heartedly (Jam 1:5-6)
- GRUDGES. We are holding onto a grudge. We are unwilling to forgive our fellow man or brother/sister in Christ. We must forgive to be forgiven. (Mat 6:14-15; Eph 4:32)
Remove the hindrance(s) from your life and talk with God. Take a moment RIGHT NOW and pray.
3 thoughts on “What Keeps You from Praying?”
Excellent post Scott. The verse you cited as well as many others are taken out of context too often to mention. Thank you for giving a word-by-word breakdown of what this verse means for a Christian’s prayer life
Joe, I am glad you catch on to the context issue with verses. Thanks for reading and the encouragement you give me.
I totally agree. I shutter to think where I would be today if I did not have the honor to be able to talk to Him at any time.