Updated: Sep 21, 2021
Ok... So I feel like I want to start this post with a, "Hear me out." Seriously! Before you judge, shut down, or roll your eyes, read this blog in its entirety.
Let me set this whole thing up with a little background information...
One night, back in 2020 (seems so long ago, right??), I was staying the night at a hotel. It was around the time of the George Floyd tragedy and many other things were "poppin'" on social media. A lot of people kept saying, "Just pray," but it was coming across kind of like, "Shut up about it, and pray so I can stop hearing about it." While they may not have directly meant these things and genuinely wanted people to pray more and fight less, every time I saw the word, "pray," I was getting aggravated and slightly angered. I went to God about it (prayed lol) because I didn't want to do or say something stupid. I read scriptures about prayer. Eventually, I came to the realization that when someone in the Bible prayed, it was normally followed by action. They were seeking God for what to do, not just going to vent and go to bed. The problem that I was having was a legitimate one... What is the motive behind all these prayers? Are we seeking answers? Are we getting instructions? Do we need clarity and direction about what to DO NEXT? How are we praying? Is that ALL we're doing?
This brings me to my scripture reference, 2 Chronicles 7:14. "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 I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
There have been lots of incidents of crime in my city, particularly young people being killed by other young people. I see people saying we need to pray for "this new generation." I'm getting the same vibes as last year. "Pray...Is that ALL we're doing???" If we only look at this ONE verse we see FOUR steps, or conditions, that must take place BEFORE we can get the results we desire.
IF these are in place...
3) PURSUIT of God's will and ways
THEN we have the ingredients that yield...
1) GOD's ATTENTION
2) GOD's FORGIVENESS
3) GOD's HEALING
I've seen non-believers comment under people's post about prayer and say, "How's all that praying working for y'all? It's not working." And you know what... They're right to question it. Even they know that we should be doing more. If we only focus on one condition... for example, all we do is pray... it doesn't really make sense for us to be dumbfounded by the results, or lack thereof. The point is, we question why God isn't doing "His part" when He's waiting for us to do ours... ALL of it. While I'm sure He loves to hear the prayers of His children, I can't help but imagine it being annoying when we do only 1/4 of the list. Then we turn around and have the AUDACITY to question why we aren't getting His attention, forgiveness, and healing across the land. We're praying, but are we humbling ourselves? Are we apologizing when we need to, considering others' perspectives, and being mindful of how we treat them? We're praying, but are we seeking God's ways and His will for the situations? We're praying, but are we repenting? Are we being honest about our bad choices and mistakes, asking for forgiveness, and turning in a different direction? Righting our wrongs? So when someone says, "We need to be praying!" I agree, but is that ALL we need to be doing? Praying is the easy part. It's a conversation with our Heavenly Father, but there's more to be done! Here are a few verses that might help....
Also, check out this song! It has been one of my favorites for a looooong time... A beautiful arrangement that plainly states the answer.
Here are some questions to consider. You can respond by commenting or just meditate on your responses.
Of the four instructions (Humility, Prayer, Pursuit, Repentance) with which area do you need to do better?
Can you think of a time when you prayed, but you may have missed the mark by not doing more?