Praying Through the Bible #98
TEXT: Daniel 9:15-19
A devotional book tells the story of a man who was traveling across the United States. He stopped for gas in Montgomery, Alabama, got back in the car, and drove for five hours before realizing he had left someone behind — his wife. He couldn’t call her because she had left her cell phone in the car when she had gotten out to stretch her legs. So, the man called the police and asked them to help him get in touch with her. When he arrived back in Montgomery, the police asked him what happened that would cause him to leave his wife behind, and the man admitted with great embarrassment that he just hadn’t noticed her absence.
Now, most of us couldn’t imagine what would cause a man to not notice his wife’s absence for five hours. But, the truth of the matter is, we are not much different in our relationship with God. As the hymn says, we are “prone to wander” away from Him. That is why, in Scripture, God warns us not to forget Him or His Word. In Deuteronomy 8:11, speaking to the nation of Israel, He says, “Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day.”
Today, as we return to the topic of standing in the gap and being intercessors for God’s people, we are going to look at the matter of remembrance in Daniel’s prayer for his people. As you may recall, on last week, we talked about three things the church needs to do in order to fulfill its duty as God’s representative on Earth. Those things are:
1. Get back to the Word of God.
2. Confess our sins.
3. Appeal to God’s zeal for his own glory.
Today, we are going to look at how Daniel employed the power of remembrance in his prayer and three things the church needs to remember as it prays.
1. In prayer, we must remember the blessings of the past. In verse 15 of our passage, Daniel prays, “And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown…” Daniel goes back in history and calls to mind how God delivered the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt. Throughout their history, God told the children of Israel that they needed to do certain things to remember God’s dealings with them.
2. In prayer, we must remember the sins of the past. In verse 16, Daniel prays, “because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us.” Notice that the demise of Jerusalem is not just for the sins of Daniel’s generation, but for the sins of their fathers as well. Their disobedience and straying from God was not just a “right now” thing. They, unfortunately, had a history of it.
3. In prayer, we must remember the salvation of the past. Daniel continues in prayer, “Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake.” Daniel’s words call to mind a time when the sanctuary was not always desolate — when God’s face shined on the nation of Israel. Daniel remembered how God stepped in and delivered the children of Israel from numerous negative situations in the past. Not only from Egypt, but from heathen nations during the period of the judges, from the Philistines during the period of the kings, and from the Assyrians and Babylonians during the period of the divided kingdom. During those times, Israel had sinned, but when they repented, God stepped in and saved them from their oppressors time and time again.
Instead of worrying and trying to do things in our own strength, let’s look back and remember not only the blessings of the past and how God bestowed them on us, not only the sins of the past and how we got right with God, but also the salvation of the past — how God delivered us individually and the church as a whole from the attacks of the devil and the threats from a world that is hostile to our faith. God has saved and delivered His people from dire situations in the past. As we look around us today, we must remember that He can do it again. It is our job, like Daniel, to stand in the gap and to intercede for that deliverance.