The National (Take A Verse Out Of Context) Day of Prayer

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Bud Ahlheim of Pulpit & Pen tackles the 2 Chronicles 7:14 controversy.  According to Ahlheim, this verse is ripped out of context and applied to Christians living in America because God refers to “my people.”

“We wield it as a promise,” says Ahlheim, “imbue with perceived power, and expect from it a divinely-induced revival.”  Exactly.  But is this a correct application of 2 Chronicles 7:14?

In is piece, Bud examines 2 Chronicles 7:14 and demonstrates the way in which the verse is taken out of context and is used it in a way that the original author did not mean for it to be used.  He writes:

National Day of Prayer

Thursday, May 5 has been designated as the National Day of Prayer. America has annually observed such a day of supplication since Harry S Truman signed the designatory bill into law in 1952.  On Thursday, millions of American Christians will gather together or will individually pause to specifically pray for America. That’s good.

While we’re admonished by the Apostle Paul to “pray without ceasing,” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) he also wrote the following words to Timothy about the specificity of our prayers:

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior.   1 Timothy 2:1-3

Indeed, that “is good.” We should be regularly praying for our leaders.  You probably don’t even need to turn on the nightly news to figure out why.

But here’s where so many Christians – including pastors and Christian leaders – veer off the Scripturally-prescribed path of nationalistic prayer. They jerk a verse out of Scripture, out of context, and wrongly apply it to our pleas to God for America.   We wield it as a promise, imbue with perceived power, and expect from it a divinely-induced revival. You know the verse.

2 Chronicles 7:14 has to be the most oft-referenced Old Testament text when this day rolls around. As biblically-illiterate as most typical believers are, this verse is probably their second most favorite Old Testament Scripture, following behind, perhaps, Isaiah 9:6 (“For unto us a child is born …”) when it’s used during the Christmas season. The average pew-sitter tends to disregard the Old Testament, to the great demise of their own edification.

Instead, many believers leave that chunk of pages at the front of their Bibles lying dormant as they furiously flip in their verse-plucking endeavors to their favorite inspiring New Testament texts. We prefer something like, say, Philippians 4:13, which, as with the Chronicles verse, is also equally ripped out of context and wrongly applied. But it makes us feel inspired, empowered, and hopeful. That’s okay, right? Umm, no.  

Faith is based on truth, not feelings. Scripture conveys truth. If you get the meaning wrong – and there is ONLY one meaning – those inspirational “feelings” you get may just leave you wondering, “Why wasn’t I actually able to ‘do all things’ like it said?” when the subsequent “promised” results aren’t forthcoming.  To get the meaning wrong means to get the truth wrong.

The same thing happens with this ubiquitous National Day of Prayer verse. We’ve been praying for over 60 years on this allotted day for God to “heal our land” and it just doesn’t seem to be working.  Are there not enough of us praying? Are we not sincere enough?  God’s not “healing our land.”  Things are getting worse. What’s the deal?

Could it be … we’ve got it wrong? Yes. Yes, we do. Continue reading

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7 Responses to The National (Take A Verse Out Of Context) Day of Prayer

  1. Dave May 4, 2016 at 3:40 pm #

    How can God heal a land when everyone is using a FALSE Bible? They do not hear, nor see, they are blind.
    Until this nation, USA, gets back to the true Word of God, AV 1611 KJV, then there will be no healing of our land.

    • John May 5, 2017 at 9:15 am #

      Dave

      What about the Gutenberg bible? That was before KJV 1611. Isn’t what matters is the better translation?

  2. Manny1962 May 4, 2016 at 3:42 pm #

    The deal might be that this land like the rest of the nations are headed for judgement, we are to pray for those in power so that God might keep their wickedness at bay, so perhaps the true church might have some respite living in this wicked generation, this land doesn’t want our prayers or healing, you see, according to them we Christians are the “sick”ones, we are intolerant, we are narrow minded and biggots. We should be incarcerated and the key thrown away. So pray for those in power so we might have respite in the mounting persecution.

    • Sheila Beers May 4, 2016 at 10:14 pm #

      I believe you have the best comment on this passage, which I am not so sure really has been taken out of context. I wish people protesting the use of this verse were as concerned about the sick, homeless, and starving people of the world as they are about whether or not a verse really “applies” to them.

  3. Faith May 4, 2016 at 7:25 pm #

    “…humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways…”

    There are many interpretations on this application. The fact is, we are in the end times and… sorry folks, but there is no turning back. Once that clock has been set in motion it is beyond repair until the return of Jesus Christ. And that is where we are.

    At the same time, they make this mistake. They think if they pray, God will heal the land. All they have to do is ask God, and then He will heal it. First, God is not subject to us, but vice versa. Also, prayer is not all that is called for. We see
    1) humble yourself 2) pray 3) seek God 4) repent
    and most are not doing all of these. Then there is the issue of this being about ‘His people,’ of which most of the nation are not part of since it is few. (You know…. few find eternal life…?)

    How can we know it is the end times? Jesus expects us to. See:
    Matthew 16; 3 and Luke 12; 56

  4. Edwitness May 4, 2016 at 9:22 pm #

    Hmmm? We have two homosexuals in the White House. More than 1,000,000 babies murdered by their mothers every year. Their little bodies being parted out and sold to the highest bidders. Usury practiced by our financial institutions. Pastors that cow-tow to their masters in their use and compliance to the 501c3. Crosses and Christian memorials being taken from public view. Muslims flooding into the country by gov’t decree with every mosque being used as training facilities for them to harm Americans and overthrow the gov’t. A Pres that speaks at a catholic college demanding and getting all forms of referenced to Christ covered or taken down……… This is what judgment looks like. America is not moving toward judgment. It is being judged.

  5. Manny1962 May 4, 2016 at 9:40 pm #

    America as well as Europe is being judged, they have a bigger mess over there, much worse in every possible way. For all intents and purposes biblical Christianity is dead in Europe, what remains is small and weak, if not for the protection of Jesus, it would have died out a long time ago. Europe was instrumental in the concerted attack on Christianity. Now they’re paying for it, this country for a long time, sent out more missionaries than anyone else, actually held to biblical principles for a very long time and though much of the population paid lip service to the gospels, a large group was salt and busy evangelizing.

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