Daniel was the kind of prayer partner everyone needs. He prayed fervently, openly, daily, and specifically. He didn’t pray in protest or for show. When he prayed, the heavens opened and God came close. However, not everything that occurred during these prayer times left Daniel feeling hopeful because God revealed to Daniel what His judgment would look like. After one vision, Daniel “lay ill for several days” the vision was so troubling. However, it just sent Daniel to his knees again, this time for confession. Daniel became a true representative for his wayward people and confessed their sin as his sin. This is intercessory prayer at its deepest level.
We need to learn this lesson from Daniel. We do not live as private Christians. We live in community with others who do not follow God, who do not understand His unfailing love. We live with people who consider God’s laws narrow minded and restrictive. They refuse anyone who would dictate morality for fear they would lose their autonomy. Daniel lived with the same kind of people. He didn’t talk against them; he prayed for them and experienced their brokenness as his.
I’m not sure any revival has ever happened where the people of God were not called as a community to repent. We have sinned as a nation. We have sinned as a neighborhood. And dare I say it, we have sinned as a church. We have lived for ourselves. We have tried to fit into our culture. We have run after other gods. WE have participated in actions big and small that separate people from God and make it difficult to impossible for them to see the glory of God living in us and among us. WE must confess.
Read Daniel’s prayer as your prayer if you dare.(Daniel 9:4-19) Enter into the suffering that took Christ to the cross as he poured out his love for people who did not love him or his Father. Make it personal. Make it specific. Until sin breaks us wherever we see it, until we stop talking about them and start praying as we; God cannot use us to show a needy people what the heart of God looks like, lives like, and what it cries for.
Lent Scripture Readings for 2018
Wednesday: Daniel 9:5-6
We have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We have not listened . . .
How willing are you to pray this “we” prayer? What does God need to show you so that you can?
Thursday: Romans3:23, 27a
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God . . . Where, then, is boasting?
How have we protected ourselves from experiencing the pain sin brings God? Consider fasting one way you have separated yourself from the people who need to see God’s work in you.
Friday: Romans 4: 1a, 2-3
What then shall we say . . . . If in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."
As you bring yourself before God, ask Him to point out anywhere you have placed more importance on your knowledge, experience, skill, or service than on God’s credit to your salvation account. Live in His credit as your worth.
Saturday: Mark 8:29
“But what about you?” [Jesus] asked. “Who do you say I am?”
How do your daily actions and attitudes communicate your answer to Jesus’ question to those you live with, work with, play with, worship with? Confess any disconnect between what you believe and how you demonstrate that belief.
Second Sunday of Lent: Mark 9: 4 & 8
And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. . . . Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.
How can you protect a single-focus on Jesus today in worship? What do you need to stop seeing or thinking about. Pray for eyes that see Jesus only.
Monday: Psalm 105:4
Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.
Where do you need the Lord’s strength to be who Jesus needs you to be? Where will you see Jesus’ face today? Near someone’s hurt, anger, insecurity or joy? With that fresh vision, how can you be the face of Jesus for someone?
Tuesday: Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
How does God make His redeeming work and eternal reward certain for you? How does this certain hope infuse your day with joy and thanksgiving?
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