Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Book of Daniel Chapter 9 - Daniels Prayer

The vision in chapter 9 was given to Daniel during the same time period of chapter 6. Darius is the same person mentioned in chapter 6.

In his prayer Daniel pleaded with God to bring about the promised return of his people to their land which according to the prophet Jeremiah , God would not allow for 70 years. Daniel knew of this prophecy and he realised that the time period was now coming to an end. The captives from Judah had rebelled against God. Their sins had led to their captivity. But god is merciful even to rebels if they confess their sins and return to him. Don't let your past disobedience keep you from returning to God? God still speaks clearly and accurately through the bible, and he also speaks to us through preachers, teachers and friends. Sometimes the truth we may hear from them hurts, and we would rather hear words that soothe even if they are false. If you are unwilling to accept gods message, maybe you are trying to avoid making some painful changes. Don't settle for soothing lies that will bring harsh judgement. Accepting the truth no matter how difficult can help you.

God had given the people of Israel a choice. obey me and be blessed or disobey me and be cursed. The affliction was meant to turn the people to God. God still uses circumstances, other people and most important his word, to bring his people back to him.

God had sent many prophets to speak to his people over the years, but their messages had been ignored.

Daniel knew how to pray and as he prayed he fasted and confessed his sins and he pleaded for God to reveal his will. He prayed with complete surrender to God and with complete openness to what god was saying to him. When you pray do you speak openly and honestly to God and with vulnerability? Daniel cried out to the Lord. He had deep concern for his nation and his people. So often, our prayers are without passion and true compassion for others. We must learn to pray by pouring out our deepest feelings to God.

Daniel begged for mercy and not help because he knew his people deserved Gods anger and punishment. God sends his help not because we deserve it but because he wants to show us mercy and we should therefore offer him our praise and thanksgiving.

Just as God answered Daniels prayer so we can be confident that he will also answer our prayers. I like the part where it says " ......as soon as you began to pray, an answer was given..." Daniel 9: 23. Imagine being interrupted by an Angel from God in mid prayer saying, ' hey I've come with an answer to your prayer'.... TJOOO!, I'd just be numbed. Imagine this, whilst we are still in prayer, God hears....not later, he does't have voicemail so he can check his messages later. Its right there and then. Psalm 139:4 says "before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord".

The angel Gabriel ( I just love this Angel) also called Daniel by name. Note that you will never pray an anonymous prayer and he said to Daniel that he had come to give him insight and understanding. Don't we all just need that. Lucky for us who have the spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ dwelling in us, we can ask him for this understanding. Keep seeking insight, stay in his word so you can recognise his voice. We have the spirit-empowered ability to hear God. I believe that God has great things stored up for those who esteem him and take refuge in him and its not things like material things and earthly riches, but things that matter to him e.g. a life of purpose, godly influence, open doors for ministry, deep satisfaction, restoration of relationships, and astonishing breakthroughs. All these are stored up for us and are only released by prayer.

Even though Daniel received the answer to his prayer immediately some of us may have to wait a while. Have you prayed for something real passionately and at that moment believed that God answered and then with each passing day of waiting for the answer to reveal itself, you started doubting. We've all been there. Remember this, If God always answers and if his word says it then, he will do it but note that sometimes his answer may be .....not now but later or a no and we have to learn to accept it because he knows best.

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