Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Daniel Prayer - Session 8 - Prevailing In Prayer...Answered Immediately




The Church of Divine Guidance Sunday Morning Adult Bible Study Group studying the book The Daniel Prayer:  Prayer That Moves Heaven And Changes Nations By Anne Graham-Lotz.  

James 5:16 (NLT2) 16  Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. 

The Daniel Prayer is born deep within your soul, erupts through your heart, and pours out on your lips, words created by and infused with the Spirit of God quivering with spiritual electricity. It’s really not an everyday type of prayer. It’s a prayer birthed under pressure. Heartache. Grief. Desperation. It can be triggered by a sudden revelation of hope. An answer to prayer, a promise freshly received, a miracle that lies just over the horizon.

Study along with us by getting a copy of the book by clicking this LINK or the image of the book in the study notes. 


This is the third section of our book our first section was Preparing for Prayer when our sessions were Committed to Pray, Compelled to Pray, and Centered in Prayer; The second section which we finished last week was Pleading in Prayer the sessions were Pleading With Confidence, Pleading With Confession, and Pleading With Clarity.  This third section is Prevail in Prayer.  The scripture that introduces this season is;

I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me. 1 KINGS 9:3

That is God’s response to Solomon's prayer when he dedicated the temple. The prayer is in 1 Kings 8:22-52.  The complete verse is

1 Kings 9:3 NIV The Lord said to him: “I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.

This session our eighth in this study is Answered Immediately. 

1 John 5:14-15 NIV This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

Anne says that once she is confident that what she is praying about she stops asking, (she says begging), and just waits. I while I agree that we must be confident that we are praying according to God’s will in order to wait patiently but as I said in Bible Study Tuesday, waiting doesn't mean we stop asking, seeking, and knocking. Remember that Jesus Himself taught that we should be persistent. 

Here's what Anne says “Even as I pray about other things or get on to the business of my day, my spirit remains in a position of waiting. It’s as though I have placed “my head in His lap,” reminding Him that I'm here and I’m still waiting to receive His answer.”. I say persistence in specific prayer reminds God that we are waiting to receive His answer. 

After saying that she stops asking once she is confident that her prayer is in accordance with God’s will I think that she then contradicts herself with descriptions on persistent prayer.  The examples of *Honi (which is a historical not biblical example), and Elijah, when he was praying for rain to end the drought, that he had prophesied three years  before were persistent prayers.  I know that her main point here was that we can prevail in prayer if we are praying according to God’s will. That's why the examples of Elijah and his victory over the priests of Baal (1 Kings 18) and Jacob's wrestling match (Genesis 32:22-32). 

*NOTE: The story of Honi is based on the writings of Josephus, a first-century scholar and well-respected historian who was born in Jerusalem shortly after the first coming of Jesus Christ. His writings are held in high regard and have been used by the secular world as a very credible source for both Jewish and Christian history.

What does it mean to prevail in prayer? Simply put, it means to persevere until you receive the answer. It means to draw a “circle” around yourself in the dust, and refuse to leave until God sends the “rain.” Let’s talk about Honi who was called the circle maker:

A severe drought was threatening the very existence of Jerusalem. And so the city elders called for the people to gather outside the city walls. Then they sent for Honi, an old man known for his devout faith.
     
After he was summoned, the elders asked Honi, “Pray that rain may fall.” Honi prayed but nothing happened. So he drew a circle around himself in the dust of the ground and prayed again, “O Lord of the world, Your children have turned their faces to me . . . I swear by Your great name that I will not stir from here until You have pity on Your children.”
     
The rain began to fall, one large drop at a time. But Honi protested, “Not for such rain have I prayed, but for rain that will fill the cisterns, pits, and caverns.”
     
In answer to his prayer, the heavens opened and the waters descended in a violent gully washer that threatened to flood the city. So once again, Honi pleaded, “Not for such rain have I prayed, but for rain of goodwill, blessing and graciousness.”

It is said, and recorded by the Jewish historian Josephus, that in response to Honi's third prayer, a long, soaking rain began to fall that ended the three-year drought. 

Overview
The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears by Mark Batterson
According to Pastor Mark Batterson in his book, The Circle Maker, 'Drawing prayer circles around our dreams isn't just a mechanism whereby we accomplish great things for God. It's a mechanism whereby God accomplishes great things in us.'

Do you ever sense that there's far more to prayer, and to God's vision for your life, than what you're experiencing? It's time you learned from the legend of Honi the Circle Maker—a man bold enough to draw a circle in the sand and not budge from inside it until God answered his prayers for his people.

What impossibly big dream is God calling you to draw a prayer circle around? Sharing inspiring stories from his own experiences as a circle maker, Mark Batterson will help you uncover your heart's deepest desires and God-given dreams and unleash them through the kind of audacious prayer that God delights to answer.




To get back to prevailing in prayer. It means to stay on your face and refuse to settle for less than everything God has promised. It means to put your arms of faith about your Father’s neck and cling tightly to Him until He blesses you. But to prevail, you must be sure that what you are praying for is something you know God wants to give you. And how do you know what He wants to give you? You base your prayer on God's Word. Then you hold Him to it through prevailing prayer.

Daniel didn’t have to wait long before he received the immediate assurance that God had heard his prayer. He had pleaded with laser-focused confidence, with heartrending confession, and with pinpoint clarity. Even before he finished praying, his burden was lifted when he received an answer that came by special delivery: “While I was still in prayer, Gabriel . . . instructed me and said to me, ‘Daniel . . . As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed’ ” (9:21–23). His prayer had moved Heaven!
     
The incredible revelation was that Heaven was moved as soon as Daniel began to pray! God didn’t wait to see how long Daniel would hold out in his fasting. God didn’t wait to see how long Daniel would leave the ashes smeared on his face or the tattered rags on his body. The Daniel Prayer is not a legalistic exercise where you and I proveto God we are somehow spiritual enough, worthy enough, humble enough, desperate enough, sincere enough to earn an answer.
     
God looks on the heart of the one who is praying. He is moved by our trust in Him. Trust in Him alone. He is not an “add-on” God. As we pray we cannot have several options up our sleeve. We can’t have a Plan A, and if that doesn’t work a Plan B, then wetack prayer on as though God is our fallback plan.
     
The Daniel Prayer is a prayer that is wholly, totally, exclusively centered on God.
 We pray absolutely convinced that if God does not come through for us, we won’t come through. That if He doesn’t help us, we won’t be helped. If He doesn’t save us, we're doomed. But for those who put their trust in Him and Him alone, they discover He  God of the impossible who finds great delight in revealing His power to make  where there is no way. He is a God of miracles who also loves to encourage us in prayer.

IMMEDIATELY ENCOURAGED BY THE ANSWER

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash


While you are waiting God will somehow keep you encouraged.  It could be by a scripture, a morning devotional, a sermon, or by something a friend or family member, or even a stranger says.  In Daniel's case it was an angel. 

Daniel 9:20-22 NIV While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the Lord my God for his holy hill— while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding.


IMMEDIATELY ENCOURAGED BY THE AFFIRMATION


Daniel 9:22-23 NIV He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the word and understand the vision:

While you wait God will affirm that He loves you and that you are important to Him. Remember my Bible Study from two weeks ago and our study Winning The War Against Worry from the book Overwhelmed. When we have reminders that God loves us in the creation, the people who cross our paths, our circumstances, Jesus.  So it doesn't matter what’s going on during our wait God is in control and He never leaves or forsakes us and He never changes.  He says and proves that He loves us and affirms it over and over. 

IMMEDIATELY ENLIGHTENED



Anne tells the story of what happened after her surgery for diverticulitis.  During her recovery she suffered with vertigo along with the post surgery pain and weakness and she was concerned that she would collapse during a major conference where she had to speak several times.  She prayed for healing and strength but wasn't hearing anything and the vertigo wasn't going away.  She wanted an immediate answer, like the example that pastor likes to use of David telling God to come quick. 

Psalm 38 ends with

 Psalm 38:21-22 NIV Lord , do not forsake me; do not be far from me, my God.  Come quickly to help me, my Lord and my Savior.

Or Psalm 70

Psalm 70:1-5 NIV Hasten, O God, to save me; come quickly, Lord , to help me.  May those who want to take my life be put to shame and confusion; may all who desire my ruin be turned back in disgrace.  May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!” turn back because of their shame.  But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, “The Lord is great!”  But as for me, I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God. You are my help and my deliverer;  Lord , do not delay.

She finally backed off her demands, I think that because of the relationship that she had developed with God, she settled down to the point where she could hear from God.  It's good to cry out or cry aloud sometimes in fact scripture encourages it.  That's what David was doing in those Psalms I mentioned and many others. However sometimes in our crying out we are screaming so loud we don't or can't hear.  Like a baby or young child screaming for a toy so loud that they don't notice that it's right in front of them. 

When we finally settle down we can hear that still small voice that God sometimes uses.  When Ann settled down she began to hear from God that He’s got her and she will be able to minister at the conference.  She got her assurance from God from scripture, and from specific scripture that specifically addressed her fear.  I’m glad that she talked about the danger of taking scripture out of context and trying to make it be God’s answer to your prayer. However because each of us has a personal relationship with God we know from experience how He speaks to us and he may use very specific scripture at very specific times to speak to you. 

While Daniel's prayer was answered immediately many times our are not, but that shouldn't stop us from being persistent, and specific.  Like Anne says, think about the times you may have given up too soon.  What answers, blessings, or miracles did you miss?

So I have resolved to stay in the circle, to keep on praying, to hang on by the sheer willpower of faith until I receive what He has promised. And what has He promised for His people? “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”Would you share this same resolve? Drive the stake of your faith deep down into His Promise. Don’t quit. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Don’t collapse. Don’t settle for less than prayer that moves Heaven and changes nations. This nation. For the glory of His Name.

 Bible Study Audio