10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name.”
15 “Now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. 16 O Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our fathers have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us. 17 “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, O Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. 18 Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. 19 O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”
I think that the most important confession we can do is confess that God has promised to restore the repentant, because He is the redeemer! I love the way Daniel says it in verses 17 & 18. “For your sake, O Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary.” And “O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”
Sometimes we forget that God redeemed us not just for our sakes, but because it brings glory to His name! Our redemption is something that He has done. We did not have anything to do with it, nor have we added to it.
Then Daniel goes onto say: “We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.” He appeals to the great mercy of God all the while admitting that the people of Israel have no righteousness in themselves to deserve the great mercy of God.
It is a cry out for grace! God show us grace! That is the heart of the prayers. Give us your un-merited favor for your namesake! While God is a holy God that must condemn sin wherever He finds it, He is also a God that brings glory to Himself by redeeming the unredeemable. Eph 1:6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
Nehemiah and Daniel both understand that grace is dispensed when it is asked for! So if we confess like Daniel and Nehemiah that God has promised to restore the repentant because He is the redeemer, I believe that we will see the pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon our nation and ourselves,
especially after we have prayed these elements of restoring prayer: 1. Confess the greatness of God and His love for us 2. Confess our national sins 3. Confess our personal participation in those sins 4. Confess the fact that God is right and just in punishing us for those sins and 5. Confess that He has promised to restore the repentant, because He is the redeemer!
I believe that the elements above all fulfill the requirements of 2 Chron 7:14-15
14 “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 will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Humbling ourselves starts with the admission of who God is and His love for us, admitting our national sins, and our participation in them, confessing that God is right in punishing us for those sins, and lastly confessing that He has promised to restore the repentant. Repentance has to do with admission of guilt, acceptance of responsibility, and turning from sin.
While we do not have to pray the exact elements I have listed, we should pray along those lines when asking God to restore our nation.