Sermon Intro Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zOPmkb7g3U
I did the worst thing I’ve ever done as a student pastor! If you promise to never do it, I’ll tell you about it. I took three of my students out to eat, and the student I asked to pray for our food was the student who always prays the longest. So when he started praying, I tapped the other two guys and we left him there, praying at the table all by himself in his SIX MINUTE PRAYER FOR SUPPER! It was classically hysterical when he opened his eyes slowly and confusingly looked around, trying to figure out what may have happened to us. I felt terrible. I vowed to those guys that I’d NEVER do that again!
As we’re finishing our “i Walk the Line” series, I have to remind you what it means. While our student ministry is growing larger, growing in knowledge, growing in our witness, growing in passion for worship, and growing in giving our lives to live for Christ…the question must be asked, “Are we growing in our walks WITH Christ?” Are we valuing our time to spend with Him in His Word and prayer MORE?
2 Chronicles is basically a look back through 1 and 2 Kings to remind the exiled Israelites who is their God, who they are, where they’ve come from, and what He’s promised them. The author takes them back to the days of Solomon who built a permanent temple to worship God. After Solomon build the temple, brought in the Ark of the Covenant, dedicated the temple with prayer, and the fire of the Lord filled it…Solomon went home. When he was at home and done talking, God spoke to him.
What would God say to Solomon after completing such an assignment? God told him that He would judge His people in the future with drought, famine, and war. But there is good news…His people called by His own name could humble themselves, pray, seek His face, turn from their wicked ways, and then God would hear their prayers, forgive their sin, and heal their land from His judgment. Let’s look at each element…
“If my people who are called by my name…” God calls us by His name! We are called Christians which means “little christs.” Don’t take that lightly. We have one kid in our student ministry who lives for Jesus so passionately that the kids at school make fun of him by calling him Jesus. Why pray? We pray because we are His chosen people!
“Humble themselves…” If we have God’s name, we must be constantly humbling ourselves to glorify Him. Humbling doesn’t mean pitying ourselves, but it means bragging on Christ. God wants us to brag on Jesus’ life, fame, and awesomeness.
“Pray and seek My face…” How long should we pray? God says to pray continuously all day long (1 Thess 5:17). It’s a lot like the swine flu’s cough. The flu gives you a ticklish throat that makes you cough intermittently all day long. God wants us to pray to Him throughout the day. Our prayers should be like seeking His face, which means to get into His mind, pray what He wants, long to glorify Him. The crazy thing is that God does have a face…in Jesus Christ (2 Cor 4:4-6). Seek Christ in praying.
“Turn from their wicked ways…” Seeking God’s face in prayer should leave us motivated to turn from our sin. Do you ever pray and ask God for things without confessing your sin to Him? God wants our repentance before He wants our requests!
“I will hear from heaven…” That is such an amazing statement. The God over the entire universe will hear from heaven my earthly prayers from my heart in Alabama.
“Forgive their sin…” Forgiveness is what everyone is looking for. Everyone is dealing with guilt and shame. God will forgive you of both any sin and every sin!
“And heal their land…” God is speaking here of stopping the judgments of drought, famine, and war. God will discontinue His discipline in our lives and He will heal us, our churches, and our families if we humbly pray to Him for repentance. God powerfully works through our prayers. So walk with Christ daily by constantly talking with Him. Jesus, because You’re mine, I will walk the line!