Good morning Ladies. I'm so glad you've joined us for Tuesday Morning Devotions. We are excited about exploring the great prayers in the Bible together. Romans 15:4: "For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Don't we all need endurance, and the hope and encouragement that comes from God through the scriptures today?!
It is our hope and prayer to enrich our own prayer lives this year as we are inspired by the great inspired prayers in the Old and New Testament. They remind us that God listens and hears our prayers, and that they make a difference! Throughout history God has shown us over and over, and tells us again and again, to pray, for He is working through them to fulfill His awesome purposes.
Prayer: May the One who loves us, and hears our prayers, teach us, and use His word to inspire us in this day and time in which He has called us to live for His glory. In Jesus Name
Please open in your Bible to Daniel chapter 9 where we find Daniel's Prayer for His People
Prayer: Father please send your Holy Spirit upon us, to help us love and grasp Your Word as we look into it today, in Jesus Name.May I see a show of hands, how many of you have read the book of Daniel? What are some words you would use to describe the character of this man of God who wrote this book? What impresses me about Daniel, is that though he received visions from the Lord, interpretations of dreams, multiple angelic visits and divine deliverances, he is a truly man of the Word of God and prayer. He is a picture of the verse which says: The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much. We need this kind of prayer today:
Anne Graham Lotz wrote this: "If ever we needed to pray for our nation, (and I would add, our families, friends, church and world), it's now," "Can we afford to pray like Daniel? We can't afford not to!"
There are many types of prayers recorded as examples for us in the Bible. Wherever there are human needs and there is faith in God, there is prayer! Here is chapter 9 we see Daniel as an 80 year old man, full of fire and zeal as a servant of the Most High God. He comes to God in brokenness and in humble prayer, and in awe of the faithful love and grace God has always extended towards his sinful people. He confesses on behalf of the people of God that they ALL had ignored God's Words, and had turned their backs on the prophets God sent to them. Daniel, deeply disturbed as he prays, identifies with his people and their failings as a humbled sinner cries out to God, for more grace. He pleads with God to listen to the prayers of His people and in His grace, restore the land, the Holy City and the temple.
At the time of the praying of this prayer, Daniel, had lived about 68 years of his life in captivity in a hostile land - where God gave him a powerful ministry as counsellor to 4 different rulers, representing 3 different kingdoms. If anyone ever understood the sovereign will of God in the affairs of nations, it was Daniel. He'd seen that God is in control of "His story", and works out His perfect plans even though people can choose to rebel and go their own way. This prayer reminds us that in God's presence, with head and heart bowed, we too can appeal to God for greater grace , for ourselves and our nation – as Daniel says: "not because we are righteous, but because of Your Great Mercy!" God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.
This treasure chest here (the visual is 3 nested treasure chests with small lights in the middle box and jewels in the smallest center box) is a picture of the treasures we can find in Daniel Ch. 9 – lets open it up!
1 In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes[a] (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian[b] kingdom – 2 in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. 3 So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.
The first year of the reign of Darius @ 538 B.C, what is Daniel doing? He was reading the Word of the Lord in Jeremiahs prophesy, that the exile of Judah would last 70 years and that the time was almost up. This number of years is recorded twice in Jeremiahs letters...
*Jeremiah 29:10-14 10 This is what the Lord says: 'When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfil my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,' declares the Lord, 'and will bring you back from captivity.[a] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,' declares the Lord, 'and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.' Also, in:
*Jeremiah 25:1212 12 'But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt,' declares the Lord, 'and will make it desolate forever. Daniel is reading the scrolls and out of the scrolls came the plan of God, the promises of God and the comfort and assurance that only comes from God. And once he knew the plan of God, and that it was almost time on the Kingdom Calendar for the restoration of the people of God, he prepared himself to pray. He aligned himself with the heart, the plan, and the purposes of God that he saw in the Word, and Daniel prayed for the outcome that had been promised by God in the Scriptures. Please note: His private prayer is both inspired by - and is fueled by and is saturated with the Word of God. The Word of God and prayer work together.
Ladies, We too need to be reading the scriptures prayerfully, asking the Holy Spirit to show us God's will in our day, and teach us to pray for His Kingdom to come and His will to be done as Daniel did. In the back of your prayer journals there are two resources to help you to this. We hope they will be of help to you. Developing intimacy with the Lord in prayer requires a deliberate choice to take the time for it. Nothing can take priority over daily Bible reading. We need a fresh encounter with Jesus every day. No one may know looking from the outside that we are desperate on the inside, but God hears and knows and listens to the cries of his desperate people. My guess is that between 99-100% of the women in this room are desperately praying for someone or something. Daily prayer and Bible reading is what keeps our focus on Christ, and His Word can lift us up over our circumstances to bring triumph over the things that come to us. We need daily assurance that God hears our prayers.
Daniel's Prayer summary: vs. 3-19 Inside this treasure chest is Daniel's amazing prayer, and God's even more amazing answer to his prayer. (Visual take the middle chest out and set it aside, and open the center chest ( a picture of the prayer we are studying. And within the small chest of jewels I pull out 3 jewels as picture of the three things in the prayer we will focus on though there is SO MUCH MORE.)
Notice: I am setting aside the amazing answer to Daniel's prayer delivered by the angel Gabriel, as we will only touch it briefly. This small treasure chest full of treasure is a picture of his prayer, of which I will pull out just 3 jewels to look at in our time together – and I leave all the other jewels for you to discover on your own this week. The 3 jewels are:
1. Daniel's right view of God as Holy and Gracious from the scriptures– an essential for us
2. his honest, humble and heartfelt confession of sins–an example to us today
3. his heartfelt petition to a God who answers prayer–an inspiration for us today.
3 So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. Note this phrase – I turned to the Lord God We have a right view of God when we turn to him with our needs – instead of turning elsewhere. Sometimes we look elsewhere for help and come up short. He invites us in Christ to: "approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and
find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:16 For Daniel, this is clearly a holy task, before a Holy God, so he humbled himself in sackcloth and ashes with fasting.
4 I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: 'Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments,
Daniel has a right view of God as great, loving and gracious, awesome, keeper of His covenant of love with those who love Him. His understanding of God is verified in and derived from scripture. Essential for us too. We too come humbly before this great and awesome God, declaring Him to be so.
This wording is so beautiful! In the interlinear Bible it reads as three powerful names of God in a row:
Elohim – mighty creator, supreme God and strong one Adonai - Lord - title, spoken in place of Yahweh YHWH in Jewish display of reverence – name which speaks of His sovereignty rulership and honor El - Hebrew word for God – from root word meaning power might and strength His words describe a God who is awesome, faithful to keep His promises, who loves His people, who gives them his word to obey so he can bless them: this is the God whom Daniel prays to and adores, this is the God we pray to and adore. A God is great and awesome, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments Last point on having a right view of God, in the days we live we have the New Testament, the gospel accounts of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit to help us know who God is.
* Hebrews 1:1-3 "In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven."
Jehovah, Elohim and confessed saying Adonai the great and awesome El – using several names of God. Jehovah “the existing One" the) self-Existent or Eternal, Jewish national name of God:
Jewel 2. In vs. 5-15 we have Daniels honest and earnest confession of sin. 72% of Daniel'sprayer is spent in this confession. Confession means to "agree with". Daniel agrees with God's perspective on the situation as it is. This reminds me of where God spoke to Solomon: *2 Chron. 7:14 "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 I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." Daniel does all of these things: humbles himself, he prays, he seeks His Face, he turns from wicked ways...And listen to his honest and earnest confession! As we read the confession he makes for his nation, please keep our nation in mind as to how you can pray for it too.
5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.
Daniel lists the sins of his people with no excuses and no minimizing of these offenses. Notice when he prays, how Daniel identifies with his own people, even though he himself is not guilty of these sins. In seeing the holiness of God, we see ourselves in the right perspective. Daniel acts as a representative of the people, and he confessed they all were to blame... and had even refused to listen when God sent messengers to speak to them.
Application: In prayer and fellowship with our Lord Jesus, don't be afraid to be honest in confessing your sin to him personally, as it leads to power to live a life of victory over sin. In our shame, we are invited to confess our sin, hand it over to God & trust his promise of: *1 John 1:8-9 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We cast all our cares upon Him for He cares for us! Note the contrast between who God is and who we are as His people – God is always holy. Mankind is always needy!
7 'Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame – the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. 8 We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, Lord, because we have sinned against you. 9 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; 10 we have not obeyed the Lord our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets.
Israel had become lazy and indifferent with regard to following the Word of the Lord their God and prayer. These are things we must heed ourselves.
11 All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you. 'Therefore, the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. Daniel had studied the writings of Moses (Lev. 25 and 26) as well as the writings of Jeremiah. 12 You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing on us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. 13 Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come on us, yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. Even in their captivity, their stubbornness was a detriment to them. 14 The Lord did not hesitate to bring the disaster on us, for the Lord our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him. 15 'Now, 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.
As Daniel's confession draws to a close, he acknowledges God's mighty hand upon His people in delivering them from Egypt. Through that deliverance He made for Himself a Name of enduring glory. In vs. 16-19 Daniel continues his prayer pleading for God to restore their nation:
Jewel 3: Pleading and bringing petitions to a God who hears and answers our prayers.
16 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 ancestors 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, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary.
Daniel pleased with God saying: "for Your sake, Lord!" ...Notice he doesn't tell God what to do, he just asks God to look with favor upon the sanctuary and see the desolation. Do we sometimes tell God what to do as if we know best? He does exceedingly and abundantly above all we can ask or think, so we can trust the outcomes of our prayers into His wise bestowment.
18 Give ear, our 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 Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.' 20 While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the Lord my God for his holy hill – 21 while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. 22 He instructed me and said to me, 'Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. 23 As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the word and understand the vision:
As he is praying, you can almost feel the intensity build in these short fervent prayers, but then there is an interruption to his prayer
Gabriel came to Daniel "at the time of the evening sacrifice." Daniel makes that reference - even though the Temple is about four hundred miles to the west and in rubble, and there's been no evening sacrifice for almost seventy years, but not for Daniel. As far as Daniel was concerned, it was God's appointed time, and they would be offering a sacrifice. That's when Gabriel came to him. (Do you have a set time for prayer and the reading of God's Word? It is wise to have a set time for this important time!)
And here is where we will close our chest. Daniel was He's told that he is "greatly beloved, highly esteemed" of God. (Also, in 10:11 and 19) God spoke to Moses "as a man speaks unto his friend" (Ex. 33:11).
And what did Jesus say to the disciples in the upper room?
* John 15:15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knows not what his lord does: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
A friend of God is what we want to be in reading the Word, in seeking God in prayer, someone who cares about the things of His kingdom, praying for His kingdom to come and His will to be done, praying not my will but Yours be done, seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Daniel's example is that kind of prayer, the prayer of a friend of God – a prayer that is: rooted in scripture, with a right understanding of who God is, filled with honest confession and heartfelt petition for the restoration of God's people – and this is a prayer that receives an answer. Are you encouraged by this to read the Bible and learn more from these prayers?Are you encouraged to be honest in confession to God of our sins and the sins of our nation? Are you also encouraged to pray for the groups to which you belong and then intercede in prayer for them?
Prayer: Lord hear our prayers. Renew in us, Lord, this kind of passion for Your holy name and Your purposes. And make us a people of prayer. In Jesus name, amen.