Summary: To be effective in our service for Christ we must identify and realign our "Top Priorities" in life.
Text: (Daniel 2:14-24)
By: Larry L. Schoonover
There is no question that our modern society has its priorities all messed up!
In a two-day period in New York City, a homeless man, a train maintenance worker, and a dog were killed on the
subway tracks. Ninety people telephoned the Transit Authority to express concern about the dog, but only three
called about the worker and no one about the homeless man.
- Austin Chronicle, p.9 May 24, 1991
Wouldn’t you agree with me that this illustrates well how cock-eyed our priorities have become? But the problem is that such absurdities are common not only in society as a whole - but are prevalent even in the Church of God! The Church today needs to take a careful look and honest examination of its priorities.
We need to ask ourselves on a regular basis, but with all sincerity, "What are we all about? What are we here for? Why has God planted this Church in this particular community? Why has God placed me in this Church as one of its members? What are the highest priorities of our life. and in particular, what is our top priority?"
Don’t you think that genuine revival demands an honest evaluation of our priorities? Do you really think we can have revival without an attempt at understanding and bringing into line with the Word and will of God our "top priorities"?
I believe we can learn some valuable lessons from the life of Daniel when it comes to what should be the top priorities of a child of God. What were the "top priorities" in Daniel’s life?
PRIORITY OF PRAYER (16-19)
1. Let’s compare the belief of Daniel and the belief of today’s typical Church on the issue of prayer.
a) We all (every Christian in every age) profess the priority of prayer.
i) We are very familiar with the promises associated with the prayer of faith.
7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they
shall be forgiven him.
16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent
prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
ii) But I have to confess. this very thing (prayer) is one of the greatest needs of my life! Am I saying that I don’t pray? No. I pray continually throughout the day. Like you, I "profess" the priority of prayer and do, in fact, pray. But I find that what I need is to be more focused on the quality of the prayers that I pray! God is not so interested in the "quantity" of our prayers as He is the "quality" of our prayers.
(1) In this "hurry-up", "hustle-n-bustle" world we live in prayer, or at least quality prayer time, takes a back seat. We pray - yes; but we do not pray as we ought. Prayer is simply not what it should be in the life of the average Christian.
Someone once said, "Don’t expect a thousand-dollar answer to a ten-cent prayer."
b) Daniel’s example is not a "profession" of the priority of prayer but that he practiced the priority of prayer.
i) We are given an important glance into the prayer life of Daniel later on in the book. It was Daniel’s habit to pray 3 times a day facing, in faith, the Holy City of God. He developed this habit in his youth and guarded it carefully throughout his lifetime.
10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his
chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before
his God, as he did aforetime (as was his custom since his early days - NKJ).
ii) Are we so jealous of our private time with the Lord each day? Are we so faithful to meet with God? Are we so hungry for the presence of God in our life?
(1) Have you taken notice of the interruptions that the devil brings upon you when you pray?
(a) Phone rings
(b) Visitor suddenly appears
(c) Some urgent matter arises that needs attention right away