Summary: How we can learn some important principles about prayer by examining Daniel’s prayer of confession and repentance.
If you have suffered a little brain strain from the past couple of weeks of diving deeply into the prophetic meanings of Lions, Bears, Rams and Goats (most of them with strange horns growing everywhere), we have a break today. We are going to focus on prayer.
This is a prayer of confession and confession IS good for your soul. Most of us are much better at excusing our sins and mistakes than confessing them. We are quick to point out other peoples’ mistakes, but we have a hard time admitting we have blown it. Here are some actual excerpts from insurance companies where individuals explained why they had an automobile accident:
“Coming home, I drove into the wrong house and collided with a tree that I don’t own.”
“The other guy was all over the road and I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him.”
“In my attempt to kill a fly, I ran into the telephone pole.”
“I had been driving my car for 40 years when I fell asleep at the wheel and had an accident.”
“The pedestrian had no idea which direction to go, so when he hesitated, I ran over him.”
“The telephone pole approached my car at a rapid speed, as I swerved to get out of its way, it hit me.”
“I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in-law and drove over the embankment.”
Daniel 9 is one of the most important chapters in the entire Bible. The first part of the chapter contains a marvelous prayer of confession and repentance. We’ll call this section Daniel’s prayer. The last four verses deal with what many scholars believe to be the most strategic prophecy in all the scriptures. Next week we’ll look at Daniel’s prophecy.
We are going to learn some important principles about prayer by examining Daniel’s prayer. As we begin this message, let me ask you a very personal question: On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your personal prayer life?
John Owen, a Puritan writer, said: “What an individual is in secret on his knees before God, that’s who he really is, and no more.”
Dr. S.D. Gordon wrote: “The greatest thing we can do for God and man is to pray. It is not the only thing, but it is the chief thing. The great people of the earth are the people who pray. I do not mean those who talk about prayer; nor those who say they believe in prayer; nor yet those who can explain about prayer; but I mean those who take time to pray. They have not the time. It must be taken from something else...It is wholly a secret service. I often think that sometimes we pass some plain-looking woman quietly slipping out of church. When we hardly give her a passing thought and we do not know or guess that she is the one who is doing more for her church, and for the world and for God than a hundred others who claim more attention, because she prays, truly prays as the Spirit of God inspires and guides.” (Quiet Talks on Prayer, p. 12)
If God uses this message to challenge your heart to pray more, then you’ll have a chance to do something about it before you leave this building. We are enlisting prayer warriors to spend 30 minutes per week in our Intercessory Prayer Ministry. As you leave, there will be places at each exit for you to volunteer to take a 30-minute time slot to pray. We have many more needs than we have people to pray for these needs.
Today, I want us to learn some important truth about effective praying from Daniel. Here are six characteristics of Biblical praying:
WHEN YOU PRAY THE BIBLE WAY–YOU WILL:
1. PRAY ACCORDING TO THE WORD OF GOD (vs. 1-2)
Daniel 9:2. “…in the first year of his reign [Darius], I, Daniel understood from the scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.”
Daniel had a copy of some of the books of what we call the Old Testament. He was able to read prophecy and understand it literally. That is what we are doing today with Daniel’s prophecy. What did Daniel read that caused him to understand that the captivity of the Jews would end after 70 years? Jeremiah 29:10-12. “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”