One of the greatest prayers for any nation is found in II Chronicles 7:14:
וְיִכָּנְעוּ עַמִּי אֲשֶׁר נִקְרָא־שְׁמִי עֲלֵיהֶם וְיִתְפַּלְלוּ וִיבַקְשׁוּ פָנַי וְיָשֻׁבוּ מִדַּרְכֵיהֶם הָרָעִים וַאֲנִי אֶשְׁמַע מִן־הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֶסְלַח לְחַטָּאתָם וְאֶרְפָּא אֶת־אַרְצָם
If My people who are called by My name will submit themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and return from their evil ways, I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin, and I will heal their land.
To help strengthen our faith in the effectiveness of this prayer, let’s review the context and historical background.
The word for submit may also be translated as humble or surrender. It certainly implies coming under authority, and obedience. It is the opposite of rebellion.
This promise was given by God to Solomon at the time of the dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem. At that time, there were two locations for the two “tents”: the tabernacle of Moses was in Givon and the tent of David was on Mount Zion. (II Chronicles 1:3-4)
During the period of the Judges, the tabernacle was placed in the villages on the north side of Jerusalem: Ramah, Shiloh, Bethel and Givon. (My family had the privilege of living in Givon for two years in the 1990s.)
At the shift between the leadership of Eli and Samuel, the ark was taken out of the tabernacle to go to war. It was captured by the Philistines, and then supernaturally returned to Israel, first to Beit Shemesh, and then to Kiryat Yearim, on the west side of Jerusalem. (We also lived in both the Beit Shemesh and Kiryat Yearim areas, each for several years.)
David then brought the ark to Mount Zion and built a new tent for it. At the beginning of Solomon’s reign, the tabernacle of Moses and the large altar were in Givon; and the ark of the covenant was in David’s new tent. Mount Zion is less than a kilometer from Mount Moriah where Solomon built the Temple.
At the beginning of his reign, Solomon went to Givon to pray. There he had his famous vision of the Lord and received wisdom to rule in justice and to build the Temple. (II Chronicles 1:7) When the Temple was built, there was an eight-day dedication ceremony during the Feast of Tabernacles. (II Chronicles 7:9-10)
When the Temple was finished and the ark placed between the cherubim, a team of 120 Levites led in worship, and the cloud of glory filled the Temple (II Chronicles 5:14). Then Solomon knelt before the people, spread his hands to heaven, and prayed (II Chronicles 6:13).
He prayed that people would turn toward the Temple in supplication (II Chronicles 6:21). He set the pattern for individuals and for the nation of Israel as a whole and for people in other nations to face Jerusalem in prayer. (Interestingly, Jewish synagogues around the world face toward Jerusalem; Muslims around the world kneel toward Mecca; most Christians see themselves facing heavenly Jerusalem in their hearts.)
There was an underlying theme in the prayers of Solomon. He prayed for God to heal all the problems the people were facing. Every problem of health, of economy, of agriculture, of military, and any other area was seen as a result or punishment of sin. If the people would repent of their sin, God would forgive their sin, and remove the punishment. In that way, every problem would be solved.
Perhaps some might think that approach to prayer is too simplistic, maybe even primitive, or narrow-minded. However, when Solomon finished his prayer, fire fell from heaven and burned up the sacrifice on the altar; the glory cloud filled the Temple a second time. (II Chronicles 7:1) That would show God’s affirmation of the prayer and His power being released to fulfill the prayer.
At night, after that prayer and outpouring of fire, the Lord appeared to Solomon a second time! (II Chronicles 7:12) It was during the second vision after the second outpouring that God gave this prayer instruction to Solomon. In some ways it is a one-verse summary of the whole Temple system of prayer.
In context, the word “My people” at that time meant the people of Israel. Since the coming of the Messiah, the promises of God are extended to everyone in every nation who believes in Him and calls upon God in His name (Galatians 3:14).
Therefore, the chosen people of God can pray according to the principle of faith that God gave to Solomon. This prayer instruction from God contains a promise to heal and restore any nation.
Might I encourage us to all pray this prayer fervently, diligently, urgently over our families, communities, and nations? Let’s believe for the same results: the forgiveness of sin, the outpouring of the power of the Holy Spirit, and the healing of our nations!