Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 98

Fervent Prayer continued...

Few men exemplify true prayer in the Bible, as thoroughly as the prophet Daniel. Prayer was a fundamental need for Daniel, as it ought to be for every believer, and though he knew full well his life hung in the balance, he could not keep himself from being in the presence of God, and communing with Him.

Daniel 9:3-4, “Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplication, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, ‘O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments.”

Although Daniel knew God, although he was a prophet of the Lord, although God had used him time and again to fulfill His plan and purpose, Daniel still made his requests by prayer and supplication, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes.

Daniel was a man who knew reverence; he was a man who knew how to approach God, and how to be in His presence. This was no feigned humility, this was no feigned reverence or subservience, Daniel truly humbled and prepared himself with fasting, sackcloth, and ash as he stood before the Lord of lords.

If we humble ourselves and acknowledge the fact that we really don’t know it all, then there is much to learn from the lives of those who came before us, including how they entreated the favor of God in their lives, and what they did in order for their prayers to be answered, and speedily so.

It is when we refuse to believe that there is still something left for us to learn, that we close off our hearts and minds to the possibility that we might not know everything, that there are still areas in which we can grow, and that there are still practices we can apply to our spiritual lives which will make for a greater revelation of God and His presence in our lives as a whole.

We grow by learning. As we grow, our perception shifts and what we once thought was the optimal way of doing something turns out to be cumbersome and impractical.

This is, in the end, the point of this entire series: the learning of the practice of prayer, the learning of the practice of approaching God, and petitioning Him.

One thing is certain, I will have done my duty before God with this series, and once it is finished, if you will still not know how to pray effectively, it will be nobody’s fault but your own.

Daniel 9:20-23, “Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God, yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I have seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, ‘O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. At the beginning of your supplications the command went out and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter and understand the vision.’”

While Daniel spoke, prayed, and confessed his sin and the sin of his people, the man Gabriel reached him, and talked to him.

We gloss over passages like these because they seem fantastical to us. Angels flying swiftly, delivering messages, coming to speak to individuals…God doesn’t do that anymore, does He?

The instant God ceases to do something simply because man says He can’t do it, is the instant He stops being God.

We are so full of ourselves, and believe our own hype so thoroughly, that we think as long as we say ‘God can’t do that anymore,’ He must submit to our will, and cease to do what He promised He would do until the day of His Son’s glorious return.

The best we can hope for is the thinly veiled illusion that we can somehow impose our own will upon God and compel Him to do, not according to His will and purpose, but to our own notions and predilections.

We present our supplication before God rather than demand of God, because God is not beholden to man, and so demanding or imposing something upon Him is in essence of no effect.

What I’ve always found telling, and humbling at the same time in the message Gabriel relayed to Daniel, is that at the beginning of his supplication the command went out, for he was greatly beloved.

God already knew what Daniel was going to pray for, before he even prayed it. It was at the beginning of his supplication, in the introductory stages of prayer that the command was already spoken, and decreed, and Gabriel was dispatched to come to Daniel, because he was greatly beloved.

Daniel was beloved of God. O that we would be as beloved of God, that when we bend our knee and begin to cry out to Him, the command would have already gone out, the angels of the Lord would have already been dispatched, and the answer to our prayer would make itself manifest even before we finished praying it.

In truth, we are as beloved of God as Daniel was, we just don’t have the same kind of faith.

Rather than begin our prayers as Daniel did, saying, ‘O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments,’ many tend to start off with the less faith manifesting version of ‘God, if you’re there, please help.’

We must know He is God, we must know He is great and awesome, and we must know that He keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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