This verse needs little commentary. But let me provide some context. The voice is that of God, speaking to the people of Israel after Solomon has finished offering prayer over the Temple. This response was given to Solomon in a vision (yes, Solomon has seen God personally, something his father had only glimpsed through prophets). The qualifier for the prayers of humility suggested here is that they be made at the Temple. In other words, prayers made at this newly dedicated Temple or toward it, prayers of humility and repentance, are the prayers that this verse refers to specifically. This Temple no longer stands. It is no longer possible to satisfy the technical requirements of this prayer.
Now the promises of this prayer are two-fold. God promises to forgive sin and heal land, the land of Israel. As Christians, we no longer pray at a Temple for forgiveness of sin. We go to the One crucified and call on His name. We are cleansed through His blood. We receive forgiveness of sin by calling in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. As far as the Temple is concerned, Paul says in 1 Cor 3 that we are God’s Temple, the Church that Jesus establishes and upon whom the gates of Hell shall never prevail. We are a Temple that cannot be destroyed, because we are built on better promises. Everywhere we go, we are taking the Temple with us. But our Temple isn’t tied to a particular land, but the world to come. Technically, the promises of this verse do not and cannot apply to us, not if our redemption is through Jesus Christ.
Well, that’s a bummer, isn’t it? Because Christians have been using this verse for years as a point for prayer for our nation in the hope that we would see political and social change. We can still pray for those things, as we do so through 1 Tim 2. I don’t think God’s desire to see men change has diminished. It has only grown as the population of men has grown. Let this verse inspire us, but don’t depend on this verse to save our nation. Is it not nations that are saved, but people. Jesus didn’t die for America, but for her people. He died for you. His blood cleansed you and all who call upon Him. Call upon Him today.
God bless you.