Summary: Prayer Warriors, Pt. 4
STAND IN THE GAP (DANIEL 9:1-19)
Have you thought of praying for countries in crisis around the world? Increasingly, people are discovering that politics, money, food, medicine, and guns and bombs cannot solve the problems of the world. More than 3 million people have died of starvation in North Korea from 1994. The conflict between the Israelis and the Arabs has escalated almost to the point of beyond repair. Afghanistan is rebuilding after the Taliban misrule and the American invasion. Pakistan is cracking down on Muslim extremists that oppose the Afghanistan invasion. Venezuela is facing a violent strike and Zimbabwe an Aids crisis. http://www.gmi.org/ow/
What in the world can you do for these countries when you are miles away and worlds apart? Can we depend on U.N., U.S. or U.K? How much can be done for them? What basic and major responsibility do we have for these countries?
A Hebrew in Babylon faced such a dilemma. Daniel was a young man when he was taken into captivity. In his adopted country, he rose to political prominence in his adopted country. Besides Darius, Daniel was in the service of four kings, including Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 1:1) and Belshazzar (5:13) in his early career, and Cyrus (1:21, 10:1) in his later career. When the end of seventy years of exile, as prophesied by Jeremiah, was in sight, Daniel felt a tremendous relief and burden, which led to his prayer in Daniel 9. His prayer was profound for the reason that he identified with transgressors, identify their sin and identify the offense. The most startling confession of Daniel is the statement “We have sinned against You.”
What is our foremost responsibility to nations in crisis? Why should we care? How can we involve ourselves in the affairs of the world?
“O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands, 5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. (Dan 9:4-6)
It’s been said that the six most important words in communications and human relations are “I admit that I was wrong.” Counting down, the five most important words are “You did a great job.” The four most important words are “What do you think?” The three most important words are “May I help?” The two most important words are “Thank you.” The most important word is “we” and the least important word in any language is “I.” (Speaker’s Library of Business of Stories, Anecdotes and Humor)
One of the conditions of intercessory prayer is to put yourself in the place or shoes of others. Daniel did not use the word “They” but the word “We” visibly in confession and intercession (16x “we,” 17x “our” and 9x “us” in NIV).
Daniel confessed of the sins of the Israel from the days of the kings, the princes and the fathers down to his time (v 6). He didn’t have a superior, condescending or self-righteous attitude. He prayed as if he was accountable, guilty and distressed. Sin reaches and touches not only the individual but the neighbor and the community.
Intercession is not to confess to their sins but to confess of their sins. It is not praying for others but praying with them. It doesn’t mean that you have the ability to do the same thing – you did not because you are not there - but that you have the capability to do the same thing. Praying for others is not condoning or commending their sin of insubordination to God, but contradicting and confronting your sin of indifference to them. It does necessarily bring change to a person or country, but it gives glory to God. You’ll end up not working on other people or working on God but working on yourself. In the end, it is not the right words that matter to God; it is the right heart. The Bible did not tell us we have to see eye to eye, walk hand in hand and talk heart to heart with transgressors, but it encourages us to kneel side by side with them.
The word “we” is an admission of the attractiveness, the power and the corruption of sin. It reminds saints of their vulnerability, frailty and trickery of the sin nature. The word “we” is introspective and inclusive. It means that the sin and the fall and chastisement of others have touched us spiritually, cognitively, socially, emotionally and practically. As John Donne said: “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less...any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.”