Standing in the Gap (Part 5)

Praying Through the Bible #97

TEXT: Daniel 9:1-8

Today, we are going to look at the matter of repentance as a special people set apart for God. Much of what Daniel addresses in his prayer regarding the children of Israel can be seen in the history of the church. Just as in the Old Testament era, God chose the Jews to be His representatives on Earth, in the New Testament era, God has called out the church to be His representatives on earth. And, just as the children of Israel often failed in that duty, we have failed in our fulfillment of that duty as well. Many Christians and even some preachers are afraid to stand up and speak out for what the Bible teaches because they don’t want to offend certain people or because they are trying to protect their image or their assets. We live in a dying and lost world, but sadly, many believers are afraid to go and share the life-giving and soul-saving message that the world needs.

Our prayer is that the church would repent of its own sins, would rise to the occasion, and would faithfully fulfill its purpose of being God’s representative in our culture and society. In light of that, today, I want us to look at Daniel’s prayer as a guide for how we should pray for the church.

1. Get back to the Word of God. Daniel 9:2 says, “In the first year of his reign I, Daniel, 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.” We begin to pray for a church that has wandered away from God by going back to the Bible.

2. Confess our sins. It is easy for the church to point to the sins of the world and call for repentance, but we must, as God’s people, confess our own sins first. Israel could not be a good representative for God if she was in rebellion to God. And the church cannot be a good representative for God if many people in the church have unconfessed and unrepented sin in their lives. About twelve of the verses in Daniel’s prayer are nothing but confession of sin. He says, “We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments.”

3. Appeal to God’s zeal for his own glory. Look at how Daniel’s prayer comes to its climax in verses 18-19: “We do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.”

Now is the time for the church — God’s people — to be humble, to return to God’s Word, to confess our sins, and to live in such a way that everything we do brings glory to God.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s