Summary: Four obervations on prayer based on the prologue to the final vision of the book of Daniel.
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All scripture is quoted from the New Living Translation.
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There was an old television commercial which for thes sake of hocking mouth wash asked the question – “How’s your love life?”
Good question. And I’m not going to put you on the spot and ask for hands from everyone who thinks they’ve got a good love life. But I want to twist the question a bit this morning and ask – “How’s your prayer life?”
On a scale of 1-10 – with 10 being EXCELLENT! and 1 being... well, the PITS!, how would you rate yourself? (Not that you’re necessarily the most objective observer -- but it’s a start.)
Take a second and rate your prayer life.
Now, tuck that figure in the back of your mind for a few minutes and turn with me to the 10th chapter of Daniel.
This is the beginning of the end – of the book – the last vision – except that it takes three chapters to record it and chapter 10 is the prologue – the introductory material.
Now, I need to point out that the message of the vision is ultimately the same as everything you’ve been hearing from Daniel to this point – IN SPITE OF PRESENT APPEARANCES, GOD IS IN CONTROL – EVEN OF THE FUTURE!
When we finish with this vision in a few weeks this is where we’ll end up. This is the overarching message of Daniel and the last vision. And we’ll return to the theme. But this morning I’d like us to go off on a little bunny trail and look at a related undercurrent in the text – the role of PRAYER.
So, just how is your prayer life?
Have you noticed, as we’ve worked our way through Daniel, how often prayer comes up?
In chapter 2 Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego hold a prayer meeting asking God to reveal the nature of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.
In chapter 6 Daniel is thrown into the lion’s den because he was praying to the Lord instead of the king.
In chapter 9 Daniel enters into a time of prayer – confessing the sins of the people and asking for understanding about what to do next.
And it’s this prayer, that is being answered here in chapter 10.
Verse 2 – "When this vision came to me, I, Daniel, had been in mourning for three weeks. All that time I had eaten no rich food or meat, had drunk no wine, and had used no fragrant oils."
That is, he was fasting. And fasting is a state of protracted prayer.
Verse 4 – "On April 23, as I was standing beside the great Tigris River, I looked up and saw a man dressed in linen clothing, with a belt of pure gold around his waist. His body looked like a dazzling gem. From his face came flashes like lightning, and his eyes were like flaming torches. His arms and feet shone like polished bronze, and his voice was like the roaring of a vast multitude of people.
"I, Daniel, am the only one who saw this vision. The men with me saw nothing, but they were suddenly terrified and ran away to hide."
This is an interesting line here in verse 7. Not everyone hears or sees the same thing. Daniel’s friends knew something was happening and they were spooked but they didn’t see the vision.
I think that this is a word of caution to everyone who thinks that everyone else can have and should have an identical experience with the Lord. He doesn’t speak to everyone in the same way.
Verse 8 – "So I was left there all alone to watch this amazing vision. My strength left me, my face grew deathly pale, and I felt very weak. When I heard him speak, I fainted and lay there with my face to the ground. Just then a hand touched me and lifted me, still trembling, to my hands and knees.
"And the man said to me, ’O Daniel, greatly loved of God, listen carefully to what I have to say to you. Stand up, for I have been sent to you.’ When he said this to me, I stood up, still trembling with fear. Then he said, ’Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been
heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer."
Hear that -- “I have come in answer to your prayer...” This thing is about prayer and God’s response to Daniel’s prayers.
So I think it’s quite appropriate that we make a few observations about prayer from this passage. Actually there will be four.