Thursday, November 29, 2012

Prayer clinic

"Answer to Daniel's Prayers" - Artist Unknown 
 (Northrop's Treasures of the Bible, 1894)

Answer to Daniel's Prayers - Artist Unknown (Northrop's 'Treasures of the Bible' 1894)
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Daniel 9:1-27

TO CHEW ON: "In the first year of his (Darius) reign, I Daniel understood by the books the number of years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet .... Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes." Daniel 9:23

What a wonderful little prayer clinic Daniel puts on for us here. I believe we, as pray-ers, can learn about effective prayer from his example. Here are some things that pinged with me today:

1. His prayers flowed from his study of "the books" (Daniel 9:1-3). Daniel studied Jeremiah and gained insight into God's plan and purpose for His people. Then he set himself to pray into those plans and purposes.

Similarly we can study the Bible to see what it says about God's purposes in general and then pore and pray over passages that seem especially relevant to our time.

2. He stood in for his people
(Daniel 9:4-19) It seems odd to hear devout, praying-three-times-a-day Daniel confessing: "...We have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments..." Surely he hadn't done those things. Yet he completely identified with his sinful countrymen and the sins of his people. Of course his prayer continuing on tells us that no matter how white his life looked, he too was sinful and knew it: "Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people..." Daniel 9:20.

Leslyn Musch in her commentary at the end of Daniel helps us apply this to our praying:
"Intercede before God, identifying with the sins of a church or a nation. Confess those sins before God asking for the Lord's mercy, forgiveness and restoration for His glory" - Leslyn Musch, "Truth-In-Action Through Daniel," New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1140.

3. His prayers made a difference (Daniel 9:20-27). The angel Gabriel assured Daniel "At the beginning of your supplications the command went out."

Wow! That tells us that prayers can be like a trigger. They spark changes in the heavenliness. They move the hand and command of God: "The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]" - James 5:16b Amplified

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for these lessons on prayer. Help me to apply them to my life so I will be an effective prayer warrior in Your kingdom. Amen.

MORE: Effective intercessory prayer
"I'm convinced that when we stand before God with the record of spiritual successes and failures, we will learn that intercessory prayer had more to with with bringing about positive changes in our world than any other single spiritual activity" - Dick Eastman, Love On Its Knees, p. 17 (from Dick Eastman On Prayer - Three Bestsellers in One).

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