“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 will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14, NKJV).
We draw near to God; He then draws near to us. We take four steps; the Lord responds in step. I think of it more like a circle than a line. Our four steps: we humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways. It goes in a circle, returning us to another level of humility, prayer, seeking, and turning; and the Lord responds by hearing, forgiving, and healing. Each circle of prayer brings a new level of response in forgiveness and healing. 2 Chronicles 7:14’s prayer is the essence of waiting on the Lord, as in Hebrew it means “to twist together.”
Our first go-around might be something like, “I thought I could do better” – humility; “but it didn’t work” – prayer/honesty; “I need your help Jesus” – seeking; “I must be better prepared” – turning.
God responds in His grace. We are heard, forgiven, and strengthened. Of course, this is an oversimplification and generalization, but prayer takes time to circle in and fully connect to the Lord. After a few go-arounds, we may sound something more like this: “I am not able” – humility; “I did my own thing again” – honesty; “Jesus I need You” – seeking; “It’s my sin” – turning. Each time a little deeper; with more openness, more personal responsibility, more dependence on God, and moving from self-sufficiency.
God in turn, can reveal more of Himself and His grace. An honest heart never goes unrewarded. Changing our course is repentance.
I prayed today for mercy. Mercy for the new year. I said, “I don’t want the same year as last year.” The Lord stopped me, and maybe it was my conscience; yes, I think it was my conscience.
I stopped and said, “I don’t want the same me—have mercy on me.” The prayer is working.