Devotional for today

January 19th

Prayer Closely Related to Reformation

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).

In the prophetic prayer offered at the dedication of the Temple whose services Hezekiah and his associates were now restoring, Solomon had prayed, “When thy people Israel be smitten down before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee, and shall turn again to thee, and confess thy name, and pray, and make supplication unto thee in this house: then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel” (1 Kings 8:33, 34).

The seal of divine approval had been placed upon this prayer; for at its close fire had come down from heaven to consume the burnt offering and the sacri?ces, and the glory of the Lord had filled the Temple (see 2 Chronicles 7:1). And by night the Lord had appeared to Solomon to tell him that his prayer had been heard, and that mercy would be shown those who should worship there.

For many years the Passover had not been observed as a national festival. The division of the kingdom after the close of Solomon’s reign had made this seem impracticable. But the terrible judgments befalling the ten tribes were awakening in the hearts of some a desire for better things; and the stirring messages of the prophets were having their effect.... The impenitent turned lightly aside; nevertheless some, eager to seek God for a clearer knowledge of His will, “humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem” (2 Chronicles 30:10, 11).

For stricken Israel there was but one remedy —a turning away from the sins that had brought upon them the chastening hand of the Almighty, and a turning to the Lord with full purpose of heart. To them had been given the assurance, “If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; if my people, which are called by my name, shall 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” (2 Chronicles 7:13, 14). It was to bring to pass this blessed result that God continued to withhold from them the dew and the rain until a decided reformation should take place.