2 Chronicles 7:14
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.
During the Dedication of the newly constructed Temple, Solomon prayed to God, asking Him to forgive and restore the people of Israel when they sinned (2 Chronicles 6:12-42). God then told Solomon (in the verse above) that, when the Israelites sinned, they would be restored after going through a four-step process. God’s Word is eternal; therefore, this four-step process has unequivocal application to Christians today. Christians ARE God’s people called by His name.
STEP 1: Humility
The first step in spiritual restoration is humility. To start the restoration process we must first recognize our nothingness before an Almighty God. I have neither rights nor commendation before God. On my own, I am both guilty and unworthy to be in his Holy presence. God is everything; I am nothing.
…the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him. ~Habakkuk 2:20
STEP 2: Prayer
The second step in spiritual restoration is prayer. Prayer is an act of humility. Prayer is NOT presenting God with a list of desires. God DOES care about our needs and He instructs us to “cast all our cares on Him” (1 Peter 5:7).
However, Jesus showed us that the primary purpose of prayer is to prepare persons to perform the perfect will of God (Matthew 6: 9-13, Luke 22:42).
And he… prayed, Saying, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” ~Luke 22:41-42
After we humble ourselves before God, we then seek to discover His will for our lives through prayer.
STEP 3: Communion/Fellowship
The third step in spiritual restoration is communion with God: ‘seeking God’s face’. To ‘seek God’s face’ is to live in His presence: to commune/fellowship with Him. Prayer is the doorway through which we enter into communion with God. Scripture instructs us to seek God, and to do so “continually” (1 Chronicles 16:11, Psalm 27:8, Psalm 105:4). To commune/fellowship with God is to live one’s life every second as if serving before God’s throne in heaven. It is to be in constant dialogue with God. It is to be intimate with God: talking with Him “face-to-face”:
And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend… ~Exodus 33:11a
To “seek God’s face” is to walk with God as Enoch did: in such close fellowship that the line between earth and heaven becomes blurred. When Moses communed with God he came so close that after the experience his face shone (Exodus 34:34-35). Paul communed with God and was caught up in the third heaven (2 Corinthians 12:1-3). God wants to lead us from humility into prayer; and from prayer into communion with Him.
STEP 4: Repentance
The fourth and final step in spiritual restoration is repentance: turning from “wicked ways”. Repentance is the offspring of communion. This is not the same “repentance” that is a prerequisite for salvation (Acts 3:19), because this passage was addressed to “my people, which are called by my name”. So, God was addressing those who are already in the fold. Repentance for believers is described in Romans 12:2 as transformation by a renewing of our minds.
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” ~Romans 12:2
God intends to bring us from humility into prayer, from prayer into communion with God and finally communion gives birth to repentance (mental renewal): a change in mindset allows us to turn from our “wicked ways”.
Start… and You Will Finish
These four steps of spiritual restoration, though sequential, are not independent of each other. The believer that humbles himself before The Almighty God will pray, because he recognizes that he must submit to the will of the Lord of Hosts. The believer that discerns the will of God through prayer must also ‘seek God’s face’, because to walk in the will of God is to walk in communion with God. And the believer that walks in communion with God cannot help but have his mind renewed.