Pray Like Daniel...
With Easter only a few weeks away, I want to encourage you to earnestly pray for our families, our community, and our world to cling to the salvation that is only available to us through the good news of Jesus! As I write this, I am also preparing for our Wednesday evening Bible study. In Daniel Chapter 9, there is a beautiful payer of confession, petition, and praise. It is Daniel pouring out his heart to God on the behalf of the sinful, unrepentant Jewish people. Not only for the sins and rebellion of the Jewish people but also for his own sinfulness. This is a prelude to the prayer that Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane prior to His arrest and crucifixion. It was Jesus pouring out in anguish and passion a night-long prayer on behalf of not just the Jewish people, or for Himself, but for all the peoples of the world. Just listen to the language of the prayer Daniel prays starting in verse 16: “O Lord, according to all your righteous acts, let your anger and your wrath turn away from your city Jerusalem, your holy hill, because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people have become a byword among all who are around us. 17 Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate. 18 O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. 19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.”
Do your prayers sound like this? I must admit that mine do not. I typically find myself praying very selfish prayers that will improve my circumstances, or my health, or my financial situation. Daniel prays scripture. He says back to God the things that God has revealed about Himself and the promises that He has made with His people, Israel. This is how we should pray. We should be so consumed and familiar with God's word that it is natural for us to say back to God what He has already said. To speak the characteristics of God and the will of God for His people reminds us of the sovereignty of God.
I ask you to cry out in anguish for your families, for your neighborhoods, for your community, your state, your country, and the world that the truth of the gospel be revealed. Pray for repentance and for faithfulness. Pray that God would be patient, merciful, and gracious to His people, but with the overriding theme: Not my will, Lord, but Yours be done.