Thursday, November 8, 2018

Excessive Mourning

These are the notes for my presentation to the Church of Divine Guidance Thursday Night Prayerline in our study of the spirit of heaviness.  Tonight's presentation on excessive mourning acknowledges that we all grieve and mourn the loss of a loved one.  However we can grieve or mourn to the extent that it affects our ability to function and in some cases affects both our physical and mental health.  When that happens we can turn to the Scripture which offers us so much comfort, encouragement and victory.  When necessary we should also seek professional help when our reactions to loss result in a complicated grieving process.   Complicated grief is a chronic, heightened state of mourning.  This is called complicated grief (CG). Pre-existing mental health conditions, multiple stressors, emotional dependency, or substance abuse issues complicate the grieving process and increase the likelihood of a complicated bereavement disorder that may necessitate professional treatment.

Tonight I will be talking about mourning the loss of a loved one tonight but this can also apply to the loss of a relationship, employment, even material things.

mourning - the expression of deep sorrow for someone who has died, typically involving following certain conventions such as wearing black clothes.

synonyms for the word mourn : grieve for, sorrow over, lament for, weep for

One of the scriptures Minister Brenda gave me was;

Isaiah 61:3 (NLT 2)3  To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.

I want to read it again starting with verse one.

Isaiah 61:1-3 NLT The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord's favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

In this scripture which is really prophetic about Jesus the Messiah

Jesus is the he in this scripture and is represented as empowered by the Spirit to preach the liberating and life-transforming Gospel, which is good news” especially intended for the meek, the humble, and the brokenhearted. Now it's talking about believers because He will do this for the righteous because it says “In their righteousness they will…..”

This is the same message of deliverance that Jesus  gave in the second scripture that Minister Brenda gave me for the topic of excessive mourning.

Luke 4:18-21 (NLT 2)18  “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free,19  and that the time of the LORD’s favor has come.” 20  He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently.21  Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”

Keeping in mind that Jesus said that he has come to liberate or set free the brokenhearted or those who are burdened with grief;

There is no easy or "right" way to mourn a loved one. Grief is a process, not an event with a set beginning or end, and each individual experiences it in his or her own way. The grief process takes a considerable amount of time and is revisited continuously over the course of a lifetime.

Grief requires the mourner to manage and diminish the pain but never to totally eliminate it and to accomplish the seemingly impossible task of holding the deceased close always while at the same time letting them go.  After all if the deceased was saved they are now with the Lord and wouldn't come back even if it was possible and no matter how much you loved them or they loved you. 

However we can grieve or mourn to the extent that it affects our ability to function and in some cases affects both our physical and mental health.

Too Much Grief

The general guideline when assessing if a problematic behavior is developmentally normal or if it requires professional intervention is to consider the duration and intensity of the symptoms. How long have the symptoms been persisting? Are they disruptive enough that they interfere with the individual’s daily functioning? If so, to what extent?

There are few experiences that generate a more uncomfortable and powerless feeling than witnessing a loved one mourn. I’ve been there several times.  Where there is real concern that the mourner’s grief is interfering with their ability to function on a long-term basis, it is important to proceed with caution in expressing this concern to the mourner. Doing so can create distance and a feeling by the mourner that those around them just don’t understand what he is going through. Sometimes it can be less threatening and more effective to center a discussion around the needs of family members or children rather than around the mourner himself

Many people who have experienced a loss can demonstrate great resilience even without outside intervention or professional help. In these instances it is essential that those surrounding the mourner allow them to experience the full range of emotions that accompany grief and to do so for as long as they need to.

Complicated or Excessive Grief: Risk and Symptoms

Approximately 10 to 20% of bereaved persons have severe enough, unremitting reactions to loss that result in a complicated grieving process that may require treatment that includes prescription medication and counseling. A history of clinical depression and anxiety, emotionally dependent relationship on the deceased, and alcohol and drug addiction are often in the background of people who have complicated grief.  Complicated grief is a chronic, heightened state of mourning. Its symptoms can include:

     Extreme focus on the loss and reminders of the loved one
     Intense longing or pining for the deceased
     Problems accepting the death
     Numbness or detachment
     Preoccupation with your sorrow
     Bitterness about your loss
     Inability to enjoy life
     Depression or deep sadness
     Trouble carrying out normal routines
     Withdrawing from social activities
     Feeling that life holds no meaning or purpose
     Irritability or agitation
     Lack of trust in others

These things  often requires professional intervention.

At a time time when we feel such heartache, pain, and loss, Scripture, offers us so much comfort, encouragement and victory.  

A Different Reaction:

Paul tells us that we, Christians should have a different reaction to death than those who have no hope. 

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (BBE)13  But it is our desire, brothers, that you may be certain about those who are sleeping; so that you may have no need for sorrow, as others have who are without hope.14  For if we have faith that Jesus underwent death and came back again, even so those who are sleeping will come again with him by God's power.15  For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are still living at the coming of the Lord, will not go before those who are sleeping.16  Because the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a word of authority, with the voice of the chief angel, with the sound of a horn: and the dead in Christ will come to life first;17  Then we who are still living will be taken up together with them into the clouds to see the Lord in the air: and so will we be forever with the Lord.18  So then, give comfort to one another with these words. 

There are two things to keep in mind;

1.    The fact that we are sad or grieving is natural.  In fact God experiences it with you. 

Psalm 116:15 (NKJV)15  Precious in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His saints.

Do you remember the story about Lazarus death? 

Jesus knew that He would raise Lazarus from the dead.  But when he saw  the sad faces, approached the sealed tomb, and felt the loss of a loved one the Bible said that He wept. 

John 11:32-35 NLT When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled. “Where have you put him?” he asked them. They told him, “Lord, come and see.” Then Jesus wept.

Now we know that believers will be resurrected, but being apart from them causes natural pain and grief. 

 2.  The second thing that I want you  to keep in mind is that while mourning is natural, our rejoicing is supernatural.

Although we mourn and grieve, the Lord is with us through it all.  As believers, we have comfort and hope in the future:  we know that our  loved ones, if they accepted Jesus as Lord  and Savior, are with the Lord.

 2 Corinthians 5:8 NLT Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.

Scripture even calls those who are now with the Lord blessed.

Revelation 14:13 NLT And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this down: Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from their hard work; for their good deeds follow them!”

An Important Reality

Here’s the reality.  The Apostle Paul reminds us that if we believe in the gospel, we also believe in the Second Coming of Christ!  Nothing is more comforting to us in our loss than that of the resurrection  it’s the true hope that only we as Christians have. 

The scene of Jesus’ Second Coming causes us to pause in our grief to anticipate the future.

When Christ returns, He will bring those believers who have preceded us in death to earth with Him! 

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 NLT For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words.

While we grieve their loss, surely THEY  rejoice and anticipate the day when they will be the first to see the resurrected Christ return for His people.


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Do You Have A Victim Mentality

Photo Credit El Centro Network

These are the notes to the Tuesday Night Bible Study at Church of Divine Guidance.  It is the third in my series of studies on stress, anxiety, worry, and depression.  The audio recording of the study is included at the end of the notes.

In the last couple of months I’ve talked about what the Bible says about stress, anxiety, worry, depression and discouragement.  Like I said I am not a physiatrist, psychologist, or trained counselor.  I am merely giving you what the Bible says along with information from things I read from healthcare professionals. 
I recently read some excerpts from a book, ”Victory Over Depression With and Without Medicines” written by a Christian, Psychiatrist, Dr. Bergina Isbell, who has trained at The Mayo Clinic and John Hopkins.
The World Health Organization estimates 350 million people suffer from depression globally, and depression knows no religious, racial, gender, or economic boundaries. But, depression does have boundaries in terms of how it affects your life!
But before that I want to talk about something that often comes with anxiety, stress, and depression, and that is the feeling that everything you touch falls apart, and everything and everyone is against you.  You feel that you're a victim rather than the conqueror that the Bible says you are and that you are constantly affirming. 
Romans 8:37-39 NASB But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
If you remember from an earlier Bible Study and a sermon I mentioned some signs that you may be headed for a crash. 
Unrealistic Expectations of Others

When we are depressed we often put the blame on  others and are angry at them for the way we feel.

An Unrealistic View on Life
We think that now that we are Christians everything should be perfect.

An Unrealistic Desire to Be Liked by Everyone

Well everybody is not going to like you so don’t sweat it.  Everybody didn’t like Jesus and we can’t let what others think about us dominate our lives we should be seeking the approval of God and not man. 

We'll when those things don’t happen we can become depressed and in danger of developing a victim mentality.

Do You Have A Victim Mentality?

     Do you feel that you're living with an impossibility?
     An insurmountable challenge that you’re powerless to change?
     Maybe it's a life long dream that has never come true. 
     Maybe it’s a chronic pain, maybe a wall you’ve slammed into in your career.

Whatever it is, you’ve run out of options. No pastor, no professional, no friend—not even you, yourself—can bring the change that’s needed. You’re stuck.  You feel like you're a victim of all the bad that can happen in life.  Be careful you may be developing a victim mentality.

Let's read that Romans scripture again this time starting at the 31st verse.

Romans 8:31-39 NIV  What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

When we allow the Victim Mentality to take over our mind, we only notice that things just keep getting bad and going wrong. We see bad things happening so many times, that we let negativity get in our head and highlight the difficult times. We start to think that no matter what happens, it's eventually going to go bad, even if it's good right now. That's the worst thing about a victim’s mentality: it's so powerfully negative that it's like a wall that doesn't allow any positive thoughts to get in. Even if something positive happens, the victim’s mentality just says, “give it a minute… bad things are coming to steal that away.  It’s just a matter of time; it always goes bad.”

The victim mentality will suck the life out of you, the joy out of you, the peace out of you, and the hope out of you. It will leave you in despair and in depression.

When we see even Christians that have allowed the Victim Mentality to get in their head, and it has stolen their joy and their peace. They will start doing things you never thought they would do.  The extreme would be taking their own life, but they will have affairs, cheat, and steal all sorts of things you never thought they would

Depression and despair make you feel like everything goes bad and you feel like there's never going to be anything good. You kind of throw your hands up and say, “Well, forget it… there is no hope!” Then people move into substance abuse, self-medication, pornography and you can think, “Hey, maybe this is going to help me.”

The Victim Mentality will take you down the road of self-destruction. God  wants to rip out the victim mentality, those lies which the enemy wants you to believe and make you think doomsday negative victim thoughts. God wants you to be free from that.

Philippians 4:12-13 NIV I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord , “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

You Can Survive Your Crisis

We have all gone through a number of crisis in our lives. At the time it was the absolute worst thing that ever happened.  Remember when that first elementary school crush dumped you, then that middle school crush, then the love of your life high school sweetheart. At the time you felt that your heart would break and you would never recover. 

What about that time you lost your job and you had tons of debt.  That time you learned that your spouse was cheating.  When you got the news that your mother or father has gone to be with the Lord, or your spouse had a terminal illness, your child has just had a serious accident.  I could go on and on and the crisis could get even more serious.

No matter how much we say that we love the Lord and know that He will never leave or forsake us, no matter how much we read the Bible and pray, at those times we don’t think we’re to get through this. Whether you want to admit it or not that’s doubt.  For some the feeling passes quickly, for others of us it takes a lot longer and some of us may never get over it.

Having gone through all the examples that I gave you I can tell you it’s not easy but you can and will survive.  The key for me was realizing that no matter how bad the situation or how long it lasted that God was in control even if it meant that the crisis may not end in this lifetime.

4 Secrets to Surviving Anything

Secret 1. You shouldn’t try to face the crisis alone. Jesus knew we would face difficult times. “In this world there will be many trials, but take heart for I have overcome the world.” Jesus has provided for us in our most difficult times. Allow people to minister to you by accepting their offers to help. Often we don’t want to impose or be thought weak. Many years ago a Pastor said something that many of you have heard me say.“You are robbing people of a blessing when you don’t allow them to help you.” Christians are to act as the body of Christ, reaching out to those in need. Allowing others to help you will bring you comfort and give them the chance to minister.

Secret 2. Allowing others to help allows you to take care of yourself. "The hour to hour, day in day out struggle of recovering from a crisis puts an incredible burden on the victim and their family. There is little time for rest during the recovery process. Limited rest results in your brain being on overload. It’s difficult to think things through when you are tired. Allowing others to help lets you take a break, a chance to recharge.

Secret 3. Seek God in Honest Communication. In times of crisis God is there to listen to our deepest fears, our anger, our frustration, and our questions. He is never offended by our honest communication with Him. God would rather you be engaged and mad at Him than ignore Him. While dealing with crisis you can be completely honest with God. He never fails to answer. That answer may be yes, no, wait, or I have something better. He loves you and knows what’s best.  Many have found a new, fresh, fulfilling relationship with God during their most trying times

Secret 4. Don’t Second Guess Yourself.  After a crisis the tendency is to ask “What if_____?” It is normal for humans to wish bad things hadn’t happened. But during a time of crisis you can’t waste time wondering ‘what if?’ you have to spend your energy on the recovery.

Good News

If you have a victim mentality I’ve got great news.

The answer is truth

“You have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him”(Ephesians 4:21 NLT).

The secret to personal change is not willpower. The secret is to know and face the truth. You must know and face the truth about yourself and your nature if you want to change.

Nothing will change in your life until you know and face the truth about your weaknesses, your relationships, your successes and failures, and your past and future.

Nothing changes until you know and face the truth. And that truth is found in Jesus Christ.

Why is it necessary to learn the truth before anything can change in your life? Here’s why: Behind every self-defeating habit in your life is a lie that you believe.

What about the things you say to yourself about yourself? Is the way you think about your past or about some event the truth, or is the truth what God says about it?

The Bible teaches that personal change starts with truth. It is the truth that sets you free. Who is the truth? It’s Jesus, and because Jesus is the truth, he will always tell you the truth. His word is the truth.

John 8:31-32 NIV To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

The Bible is His Word, and that means the Bible is truth.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

What you hear on television or read in books isn’t always going to help you, because it’s not always the truth. Have you learned that? But what God tells you is always going to be the truth. God’s Word shows you how to get back to the life you were created to live, and then it shows you how to stay on God’s path.

This is why it is so important for you to have a daily quiet time in the Word of God. Nothing will change until you get the truth into your heart. As long as you build your life on a foundation of lies, misconceptions, deceptions, or half-truths, you will never change. But when you face the truth and respond to the truth, you will begin to see change in your life.

The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel determines the way you act. If you want to change the way you act, start by changing the way you think. In addition, if you want to change the way you feel, you must start with the way you think.

You can’t fight your way into a feeling. You must change the way you think. That will change the way you feel, which will then change the way you act. The Bible says,

Ephesians 4:20-24 NIV That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Romans 12:2 NIV Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

 The renewal of your mind is related to the word “repentance.” I know repentance is a dirty word for a lot of people. They think it means something bad, something they don’t really want to do, something painful. They think of a guy standing on a street corner with a sign that says, “Repent! The world’s about to end!”

Repentance is about more than changing your behavior. It is about changing your mind and learning to think differently. “Repent” simply means to make a mental U-turn.

You turn from guilt to forgiveness. You turn from frustration to freedom, from darkness to light, from hatred and bitterness to love.

You may also need to change the way you think about God. He’s not mad at you; he’s mad about you! You’re deeply flawed, but you’re deeply loved.

Start with your mind, and change the way you think about your relationships, the economy, the world, and your past, present, and future.

Philippians 4:8 NIV Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (emphasis mine)

Too often our thoughts take on a life of their own, wandering freely and sometimes landing in dark places. Changing the way you think will then affect your emotions and your behavior.  If that sounds daunting or even impossible, remember that when God calls us to do something, He enables us to do it.

Philippians 4:12-13 NIV I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Now back to what I read from by Dr. Bergina Isbell from ”Victory Over Depression With and Without Medicines


When a wound is first inflicted, touching it can be very painful. As the wound heals, it becomes no longer painful, though a scar may remain. Healing from wounds inflicted by depression is possible. Focusing on positive and encouraging material actively changes your mind and your brain over time. As believers we know that the Bible promises healing of all sickness, illness, and disease. We are told to ask in prayer for healing and then give thanksgiving in faith for what we asked (1 Thessalonians 5:18). King David did this often. He began many songs, or Psalms, with an honest account of his feelings, but then he seems to abruptly turn the focus from himself to his God, offering praise for things that God had already done and for the future things he had faith that He would do. Many have noticed benefit from turning their hurting hearts towards helping others. Again, this takes the focus off of you, ultimately helping with your healing process and that of others. For some, you will experience healing swiftly. For others, the process may take longer and a medicine or other intervention is helpful.
The story is told of a man who needed surgery to repair a badly injured knee. The man asked the surgeon “how long would it take the knee to be completely healed after the surgery?” The surgeon replied, “I will do the surgery, but it’s up to God to do the healing.” I think that was a wise response. There is a limit to modern medicine. Providers do the very best we can by our patients, but we do not have all of the answers. I believe that where we end in our abilities, that is where God begins. There are a host of scriptures on healing of illnesses recorded in the Bible, including wise sayings about depression.
Philippians 4:6 NIV Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Isaiah 53:5 NIV But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Psalm 147:3 NIV He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Jeremiah 30:7 NIV How awful that day will be! No other will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it.

Psalm 107:19-20 NIV Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.  He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.

Matthew 15:30-31 NIV Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.


Sunday, September 2, 2018

The Daniel Prayer - Session 9 - Prevailing In Prayer...Answered Ultimately

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. 

In last week's session we learned that Daniel's prayer was answered immediately.

Daniel 9:20-23 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. 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:

In this session we’ll see that Daniel got an immediate answer but it wasn't the ultimate answer. 

Daniel prayed that God answer Jeremiah's prophecy.

Jeremiah 29:10-11 NIV This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord , “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

But he never saw the ultimate answer.  Yes they would go back to Israel and Jerusalem but the ultimate answer wouldn't come until after a bunch of sevens and seventies. 

Daniel 9:24-27 NIV “Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place.  “Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him. ”

We went through the weeks thing in our study of Daniel in 2014, The Prophecies of Daniel - Is The End Near - Session 5 (

As we learned in our Daniel study that prophecy came to pass before Jesus’ birth.

Because the Daniel Prayer is a cry for freedom. Anne is certain that the ultimate answer is Jesus.

Galatians 5:1 NIV It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

John 8:32 NIV Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

As the people in Daniel’s day were enslaved by the Babylonians. People today are enslaved.  The devil has bound them in chains of sin and selfishness and lust and greed. Everybody's enslaved  men and women, old and young, every nationality, language, and culture, So we should, like Anne be compelled to pray that all people everywhere would be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.

Jesus announced His ministry to the world, not just the Jews, when He read from the scroll on the Sabbath in Nazareth. 
Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

Luke 4:16-18, 20-21 NIV He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:   “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,  because he has anointed me  to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners  and recovery of sight for the blind,  to set the oppressed free,  Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Then He told them that if they didn't believe Him others, Gentiles, world.

Luke 4:22-27 NIV All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.  Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’ ”   “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown.  I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land.  Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon.  And there were many in Israel with leprosy  in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”

And they wanted to kill Him.

Jesus died to break our shackles of bondage to sin.  He rose from the dead to open prison doors that we might enter into the real freedom of abundant, eternal life in His Name. He ascended to God’s right hand of authority and power where even now He is praying, His own High Priestly Prayer over us.

Romans 8:34 NIV Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

At this moment, He is working to build the New Jerusalem for us as a Heavenly Home where we will dwell with Him forever.

 John 14:1-4 NIV“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God   ; believe also in me.  My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going.”

And one glorious day He will return to judge and rule the world. One day the nations of the world will become the Kingdom of our God and of His Christ!

 Revelation 11:15 NIV The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.”

Anne’s profound statement “The Daniel Prayer moves Heaven and changes a nation as one person at a time fully embraces Jesus . . .” goes to the heart of what we talked about in our study “Prayer Does It Make A Difference”. We agreed that quite often prayer energizes us to act.

Shadow of the Almighty and Through Gates of Splendor—about Jim Elliot ,a man who wanted to be part of the ministry that points to the ultimate answer, who died on a mission to deliver the gospel to natives in Equator. These two biographies expanded his ministry by challenging a new generation to take the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth.  And in 2006 a movie was released, End of the Spear, that chronicled the successful, continuing effort to reach the natives of Ecuador. Heaven was moved and the Aucas, as well as many others in remote areas of the world were radically, eternally changed. 

Let's talk about what I think is an amazing story.

Azzam had been born and raised a Muslim but had been having dreams of Jesus. He had sought out his Imam for answers, but the man had violently berated and beaten him. When his mother discovered he was having Jesus dreams, she commanded him to leave the home for his own protection and never come back. He did. He walked miles and miles, quite sure his father would be unable to find him.
 But he was wrong. His father was a powerful warlord who located him quickly, and sent Azzam a package. When Azzam opened it, he was shocked and sickened to find his mother, cut up into small pieces. A photograph had been included inside the plastic bag. It was a picture of his mother kneeling in front of two men who had their knives raised over her. The day Azzam opened the “package” is the day he embraced the Ultimate Answer as he committed his life to Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.
This is where the story gets even more incredible. Because Azzam sought out the two men who had butchered his mother. He told them that he forgave them. He told them that Jesus loved them and that He could forgive murderers. The two men, Mahdi andYasin, embraced the Ultimate Answer and claimed Jesus as their Savior. Then they confided to Azzam, “As we killed your mother, her last words were, ‘Jesus, Jesus, I love You.’
Without a doubt, Heaven has been and is being moved by these radical followers of Jesus. And while Somalia has yet to be changed, it will be. One heart at a time. Because the Ultimate Answer to the Daniel Prayer . . . the Ultimate Answer that moves Heaven and changes a nation is not politics . . .
Or education.
Or a strong military.
Or nuclear weapons.
Or religion.
Or a particular denomination.
Or better organization.
Or capitalism.
Or socialism.
Or radicalism.
 Or more jobs.
 Or more money.
 The Ultimate Answer is Jesus!


When we believe that we are being led by God to do something that we believe is impossible we want to make sure we pray about it often asking for a sign.  Now we have to make sure that the sign is from God so we need to get bery specific, like Gideon.  We know the story of the angel, who some say was a theophany or a pre-incarnation appearance of Jesus told Gideon he would save his people.  

So Gideon prayed specifically by laying out a fleece...twice.

Judges 6:36-40 NIV Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised— look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said.” And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew—a bowlful of water.  Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece, but this time make the fleece dry and let the ground be covered with dew.” That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew.

We have talked about being specific in prayer so we know that we should always be specific and persistent . 

Have you ever had an experience similar to Anne in laying out a fleece.

What difference does the prayer of one person make? You will never know until you pray. So . . . pray! Now!

So don’t just pray the Daniel Prayer. Become part of the Ultimate Answer to it by embracing Jesus fully. Then give Him to someone else by sharing the Gospel. Heaven will be moved. Our nation and world will be changed. One person at a time. For the glory of His Name!

Bible Study Audio

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. 

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.


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.


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. 


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