Praying Through the Bible #94
TEXT: Daniel 9:1-8
We are continuing our look at the prayer that Daniel prayed for the nation of Israel as they were on the cusp of being delivered from their time of exile. Daniel chose to be an intercessor for his people. Many of them had probably lost faith in God and were discouraged about their present situation. Many of them probably thought that God had forgotten them and that they would remain scattered in foreign lands. However, because Daniel was close to God, he took it upon himself to bring his nation before God in prayer. He took it upon himself to stand in the gap for his people.
In our last message, we saw three things about Daniel’s prayer for his people.
1. Daniel took time to prepare to pray.
2. Daniel kept in mind God’s awesomeness and faithfulness
3. Daniel openly confessed that his people had sinned.
Right now, we are going to zero in on verses two and three of our text and look at three key points that made Daniel’s prayer so powerful and that made Daniel a very effective intercessor for his people.
1. Daniel’s prayer was based on the Word of God. In verse two, Daniel says, “I understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.” Daniel’s basis for praying for the deliverance of his people was the “word of the Lord” that had been given to Jeremiah.
2. Daniel prayed with great determination. The Bible says that he “set” his face unto the Lord God. This term shows that Daniel was serious about what he was doing. It implies determination in prayer. Matthew Henry writes that it “denotes the fixedness of his thoughts, the firmness of his faith, and the fervour of his devout affections.” Another commentator said, “Daniel had a goal to reach through prayer, and he approached God as a man who would not be denied.”
3. Daniel’s prayer was offered in humility. Daniel says, “I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes.” Remember, Daniel was a prominent leader in the Persian empire. Yet, when he goes before the Lord, he takes off his beautiful oriental robes and jewelry and dresses himself in sackcloth. Sackcloth, a material like rough burlap, which scholars tell us was made of black goat’s hair, was used in Bible times as a symbol of deep grief and mourning.
Standing in the gap for our churches, our communities, our families, and our nation is serious business. It is a task ordained by God and necessary for man. The question is, are we willing to do it? Are we willing to do what it takes to be successful intercessors? Are we willing to stand in the gap? If so, we must do as Daniel did: pray based on the word of God, be determined in our prayers, and offer up our prayers in humility.