“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 heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
This is a much loved verse of scripture. It conveys hope and promises healing, which means deliverance and restoration. Many leaders and teachers often, even usually, interpret this verse along the lines of “pray for the unsaved to get saved.” Is that a reasonable interpretation based on the context from which this verse comes?
In a word: No.
The context here is the building of the First Temple in Jerusalem. David has passed on his plans to his son, Shlomo (Solomon) to do the work. Shlomo (and a couple hundred thousand workers) did it, and Shlomo prayed a prayer of dedication in which he listed several things Israel might be prone to do if they forsake YHVH. He asked YHVH to “hear from heaven where you dwell” when sin happens and then repentance happens.
Yah’s response is in the scripture quoted above. Essentially, Yah states that when “(his) people who are called by (his) name” truly acknowledge their sin, he will extend forgiveness and healing.
This is not about unsaved people getting saved. This is about HIS PEOPLE repenting. And there is more here than only praying. Praying is important, of course. Praying is placing the key in the lock, turning it, and opening a door. BUT, please notice, Yah also commanded a few other actions: 1) humble themselves; 2) seek my face; 3) turn from their wicked ways.
Upon doing these things, THEN, Yah says, he will “hear from heaven” and forgive and heal.
Humility, giving attention to Yah and his instructions, repentance (turning from our wicked ways), AND prayer.
Shema, Israel! YHVH Eloheinu; YHVH echad.