v 14 Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.
Humility is here seen as one of the vital steps towards answered prayer.
Humble themselves – take positive steps to eliminate pride and arrogance.
Pray – recognise total dependence on God and accept His ways.
Seek God – Make deliberate efforts to discover and walk in God’s ways.
Turn from wicked ways – Cultivate a life of holiness in obedience to God.
It seems to me that by putting humility first it underlines the importance of this quality of character in building the kind of life to which God calls His people. Without humility the other building blocks will never fit into place. We can never deserve to have our prayers answered – so humility must be the very first step in handing over to God the outcome of our prayerful requests. Humility brings requests to God but at the same time says, ‘Not my will but Yours be done’. To be humble is not to cringe as we come to God, but to be bold. It is to feel free to claim a relationship with God that can say ‘I am one of Your people and called by Your name’ and yet be totally dependent on His mercy and goodness. Prayer is so much more than words; rightly understood it expresses a relationship of Father/Child in which humble acceptance of God’s essential goodness forms the strong basis on which requests can be made. It is the humble person who can pray with confidence and trust the outcome to the Father.