Praying Through the Bible project
Summary of the Prayers in Second Chronicles
Second Chronicles ends the lengthy historical annals of the kings of Israel, both north and south. Beginning near the end of David’s reign (9th century BC), the story is told of the powerful united kingdom, a civil war and division into north and south (called Israel and Judah), and the events from that point until the destruction of the north by the Assyrian Empire (722 BC), and then the destruction and exile of the south by the Babylonian Empire (586 BC). The story ends with a brief account of the exile and the return from exile, eighty years later.
Prayer plays a major role throughout Second Chronicles—there are 36 prayers in the 36 chapters. Those prayers give us a variety of models for our own prayers: praise, petitions, intercessions, thanksgivings, a blessing, a vow, and a confession. Almost all of these prayers are tied to the theme of “immediate retribution” emphasized by the writer: when one is faithful, the blessings of God follow, but when one is unfaithful, suffering and punishment are the results. During the last decades of Israel’s existence, we find the themes of confessions, repentance, new beginnings, and the joy that God takes when a stray child returns to him, all exemplified in the prayers within.
The history of Israel, like our own lives, is filled with times of faithfulness and unfaithfulness, times of joy and of sadness, failure and victory, betrayal and redemption, suffering and blessing. Within these kings, good, bad, flawed, selfish, and even evil, we find parts of ourselves. Their prayers can become our prayers, helping us to avoid their mistakes and build upon their faithfulness.
Often, when we falter in our faith, when we sin, or when we stray, the moment when we confess and repent can be an embarrassing, difficult, and somber time. Yet this prayer, offered by a king who did terrible things, shows how much pleasure God has when someone asks for forgiveness.read more
Have you ever considered that sometimes, when we are weak and failing in faith, that we pray improperly? For the wrong things? Hezekiah, despite his great faith, did so in a time of suffering. What can we learn about prayer from his failure?read more
“Then King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz prayed because of this and cried to heaven.”
Sometimes, we rely too much on ourselves. But it is also possible to rely too much on prayer! Hezekiah did both, and it is a good less for us about prayer.read more
Praying Through the Bible project What is the Connection between Prayer and Giving? (2 Chron 31.2, 8) Hezekiah appointed the divisions of the priests and of the Levites, division by division, everyone according to his service, the priests and the Levites, for burnt...read more
Have you ever experienced the joyful release of a new start? A renewed life, cleaned up and ready to forge a hopeful future? The prayers in this story of King Hezekiah and the Temple renewal are excellent models for our own prayers.read more
Sometimes we need to cleanse and rededicate our life. Hezekiah’s religious reforms and the prayers of rededication are an excellent model for us to follow.read more
Who are your tutors or mentors? A person or persons who guide you, advise you, and hold you accountable? Perhaps we think we don’t need mentors once we become adults. King Uzziah’s example would tell us otherwise. He reigned as king for 52 years, and was a faithful and successful king under his mentor and teacher, Zechariah. When Zechariah died, Uzziah’s kingship fell apart.read more
When we are betrayed in particularly crass and hypocritical manner, it is difficult not to cry out, “make this right, God!”read more
We often hear today of “boldness in prayer” and “claiming this in the name of Jesus Christ,” but weakness more surely leads to faith than strength. These prayers emphasize the role of weakness in prayer.read more
Should seeking peace be our highest goal? Should our prayers be full of compassion alone? Or is it possible that a singularly “compassionate heart” could actually lead to unwittingly doing harm?read more
We have seen a number of prayer vows in our study so far. This one in 2 Chron 15.14-15 a bit different. It is a vow to renew devotion to God, much like a married couple might renew their wedding vows.read more
Do you think it is possible for a sincere follower of God to be wrong about God’s will? Read this story about King Abijah of Judah and King Jeroboam of Israel, and see what you think.read more
This prayer from 2 Chronicles 9.8 is offered by an unknown figure from history whom the writer only refers to as the Queen of Sheba. Though she is not a follower of Yahweh, she blesses Him when she sees how blessed Solomon is with wealth and wisdom.read more
This little prayer can help us (despite its paucity!). “Goodness” and “love” are two things that every human desires. This prayer focuses on those two characteristics of God. He is the definition and source of all that is good, and he is the definition and source of genuine love that never ends. What powerful theological concepts in just ten short words!read more
This prayer is almost the same as the parallel in 1 Kings 8 (the telling of the same story by a different author) but focuses more on the theme of prayer. For example, the prayer itself is longer than the story of the building of the Temple! The Chronicler thinks prayer is quite important.read more
After the blessing prayer by the priests and musicians, Solomon turns to address his subjects, assembled in front of the new Temple. He also offers a prayer—a praise to God for what He has done. This prayer of Solomon is a good model for how to pray an enriched blessing prayer.read more
A Simple and Profound Prayer 2 Chron 5.13 Background The previous prayer asked for God to bless Solomon and his work on the Temple. “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever,” Following that prayer, the author described the details of the preparation and...read more
Do you live in such a way that it causes other people to acknowledge God? Even if they do not believe, do they recognize the positive aspects of belief in your life? This prayer from the time of King Solomon encourages us to live and pray accordingly.read more
Second Chronicles provides us with opportunities to learn about praise, thanksgiving, petitions, and intercessions. There are also some opportunities to increase our understanding of blessing, vows, and confession.read more
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