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

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

What If The Answer Never Comes?

Photo Credit: Creative Commons - Bear Valley Center For Spiritual Enrichment

These are the notes to the CDG Tuesday Night Bible Study on 8-21-18.  This study is a follow up to last Tuesday's Study, "When Your World Has Been Turned Upside Down".  That study discussed how we Christians should respond when it feels like the world is closing in on us.  Nothing is going right and it feels like our prayers are bouncing off the ceiling and falling down to the floor.  Nobody hears our prayers but us.  The study encourages us to remember that although it appears that God isn't listening, or can't answer our prayers He still loves us and has left reminders of His love.   What we need to do is continue the trust Him and believe that He will come through on every promise.  However having waited and waited and waited what if the answer never comes? Can you dare to believe God will still keep his promise, even if you don’t get to see it during your time on earth? Is it possible that you might grow so intimate with God that you’re able to keep loving and serving him despite your disappointment?   

**This Study was based on my blog post of August 8, 2018 "What If The Answer Never Comes"**

The primary purpose of prayer is not to change circumstances; the primary purpose of prayer is to change us! — Mark Batterson

Last week we talked about what we should do when our world is turned upside down by the news of a serious, maybe terminal illness for you or a loved one; the death of a parent, child or spouse, loss of employment, a serious financial crises, a divorce, the collapse of a close friendship.  When any of those things happen, and sometimes more than one of them happens at once,  it feels as if everything is closing in on you and there's no way out.

At those times we begin to wonder if anybody other than us hears or really cares.  When it getss to that point we need to be reminded that God who promised to never leave or forsake us and to provide all our needs according to His riches  glory in Christ Jesus loves us.  Pastor talked about God being love on Sunday and that His love is what drives the relationship that Christians, those who believe in His Son Jesus, have with Him.

Because He loves us we can trust Him, and have faith in Him that He keeps all of the promises that He made to His people which are recorded in scripture.  So even when our world is turned upside down we can wait for Him to answer.

Psalm 27:14 (NKJV) Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!

You may be praying for something that hasn't happened yet.  Maybe it’s for you, a friend, or family member to be healed of an illness, maybe it’s for a financial blessing, maybe it’s for a new job, maybe it’s for a spouse, whatever it is it hasn't happened and you are wondering if it will ever happen.

So you wait.  


Waiting doesn't mean just sitting around and doing nothing but waiting on God is active as we exercise faith in Him. While we wait we should never forget that God is with us as we wait.

Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

We wait because we we believe that God loves us and that He keeps His promises . 

Psalms 145:13 NLT For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. You rule throughout all generations. The Lord always keeps his promises; he is gracious in all he does.

Waiting teaches us patience which when we allow to grow will become perfection.

James 1:2-4 NLT Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

However when you've been praying and waiting for something, sometimes for years, for years and there's no answer there are times when your faith starts to falter.  Yes you know that God will either answer yes or no, but you also know that you may still have you to wait. It’s at these times, that you have to rely on the Holy Spirit to encourage you to be patient. 

Galatians 5:22-23 NLT But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

We have been taught that while we wait for we should not abandon our our request but should continue to pursue it with God unless and until you know that His answer is No. 

How can you know if God has said “No” to your prayer? Begin by asking yourself why you’ve prayed this particular prayer. Are you honestly seeking God’s will in this situation or are you only concerned about yourself and what will please you? God hasn’t promised to answer every prayer we make; He’s only promised to answer those that are in line with His will. The Bible says,

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.

So we should be persistent in prayer like the woman in Jesus’ parable about the widow and the judge.

Luke 18:1-8 NLT One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. “There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people.  A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people,  but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’” Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?  I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?”

Or the man asking for bread so that he could feed a visiting friend.

Luke 11:5-13 NLT Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him,  ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’  But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence. “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. “You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”
Jesus Himself gave us an example of persistence was in prayer.

Matthew 26:36-44 NLT Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.”  He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour?  Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.” When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open. So he went to pray a third time, saying the same things again.

God didn't answer His prayer, so just like with our parents sometime, no answer means no, in this case it was not God’s will to spare Him.  God’s will was for Jesus to suffer for our sakes so that our sins could be forgiven.  So remember that sometimes when your prayer isn't answered it is to benefit somebody else.  We just have to trust that God will work it out for your good like He promised. 

Romans 8:26-30 NLT And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

We Should Be Persistent And We Should Be Specific When We Pray

Be specific like blind Bartimaeus.

Luke 18:35-43 NLT As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind beggar was sitting beside the road. When he heard the noise of a crowd going past, he asked what was happening. They told him that Jesus the Nazarene was going by. So he began shouting, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” “Be quiet!” the people in front yelled at him. But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” When Jesus heard him, he stopped and ordered that the man be brought to him. As the man came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord,” he said, “I want to see!” And Jesus said, “All right, receive your sight! Your faith has healed you.”  Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus, praising God. And all who saw it praised God, too.

When Jesus taught his followers to pray, he could have said to pray, “bless us” or “help us.” But he didn’t. He said,

Matthew 6:11 NKJV Give us this day our daily bread.

That's specific.

What Does The Scripture Say?

The scriptures also tell us that if we are in Christ we are more than conquerors.

Romans 8:37-39 NIV 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.

Psalm 34:19 NIV The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all;

There is scripture that tells us not to worry;

Matthew 6:31-34 NIV So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

There's scripture that tells us to pray about everything.

Philippians 4:6-7 NIV Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

But What If The Answer Never Comes?

Okay you’ve been persistent, you’ve been specific, you’ve searched the scriptures and you're convinced that what you're praying for is in God’s will, but no answer.  No yes, no no, so the only thing left to do is wait and wait and wait. 

What if you’re living by faith and yet you don’t see God’s promise to you fulfilled in your lifetime? Can you dare to believe he will still keep his promise, even if you don’t get to see it during your time on earth? Is it possible that you might grow so intimate with God that you’re able to keep loving and serving him despite your disappointment?

There are many things that we will never know, or understand, this side of heaven... things like, why some people are healed and others aren't ...why some people are spared from tragedies and others aren't...

We need to know that when our prayers aren't answered, it doesn't mean it's because we are necessarily doing something wrong...sometimes we can be doing everything right... Paul and Jesus are examples.

Remember, when we are living a life that is pleasing to God, we are more of a target for the enemy. Job is a prime example of that. 

 Job 1:9-12 NLT Satan replied to the Lord , “Yes, but Job has good reason to fear God. You have always put a wall of protection around him and his home and his property. You have made him prosper in everything he does. Look how rich he is! But reach out and take away everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face!” “All right, you may test him,” the Lord said to Satan. “Do whatever you want with everything he possesses, but don’t harm him physically.” So Satan left the Lord's presence.

We know what happened, Job lost his children, all his stuff, and then his health.

We have to remember that we live in a fallen world and there is evil in this world. God created this world to be perfect, but sin entered in. God does not cause evil... God does not cause anyone to sin or do bad things, yet God gets blamed for a lot of things that are not His doing. God made a way for us through Jesus, and God does promise to work all things together for good for those who love Him.

We are told there will be suffering in this world and  that we will share in the suffering of Christ,

John 16:33 NIV “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 15:18-21 NIV “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.  Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’  If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.  They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.

So we should not believe those who misconstrue scripture and say that say if we have enough faith, that we will never be sick, or that if we are sick, it's because there is sin in our lives... that we will only have financial prosperity, we just have to speak it and we'll get it, etc. The Bible is full of examples of people that followed God and were beloved by Him, yet faced every form of adversity here on earth.

The Apostle Paul, who was one of the most faith filled people who has walked this earth, prayed three times to be healed of an affliction and God told Him, "His grace was sufficient, for him.  We talked about Job and Jesus, not to mention Stephen who was stoned because he preached the gospel. 

Acts of the Apostles 7:57-60 NLT Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul. As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.

We can pray, asking in faith and believing with all of our hearts that God can and will heal us, but at times, He doesn't choose to heal in this life because He has a greater plan and purpose for our illness or infirmity...what the enemy has meant for our harm...what the enemy hoped would be a stumbling block to our faith, God will turn around and redeem and use for our good and His glory.

Romans 8:28 NLT And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

So What If The Answer Never Comes In This Lifetime What Can You Do?

Psalms 73:26 NLT My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.

Here are some suggestions.

     Let go of your need to know. You can cause yourself a lot of stress by insisting that you always know what's coming. Relax and enjoy the present. Trust that all things will work together for your good.

Romans 8:28-30 NIV And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

Psalms 55:22 NLT Give your burdens to the Lord , and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.

1 Peter 5:6-7 NLT So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

     Take a small step, and then notice what happens. If you are feeling torn about what direction to take, sometimes the best thing you can do is to pick a direction and move. Do you feel at peace? Are doors opening easily or is it a struggle without a purpose? Sometimes taking a small step gives you clarity about whether to continue on a particular path

Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

     Make sure that you haven't been neglecting something.  Often, we can't have what we think we are ready for because it's time to address other matters. Until those are addressed, your answer will not come. What have you been avoiding? Consider your waiting period an opportunity to face the things you've been able to avoid for a while – nurturing a relationship, taking care of yourself, going back to school, taking control of your finances, or getting your career on track. You know what it is for you. Summon up the courage to address it.

James 2:14-17 NLT What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.

     Connect with God by talking - and then listening.  We talked about that last week in the book of Habakkuk

Habakkuk questioned the apparent injustice of God.

Habakkuk 1:2-4 NIV How long, Lord , must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?  Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds.  Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.

Then he decided to stop, listen and take notes.

Habakkuk 1:5-11 NIV “Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.  I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwellings not their own.  They are a feared and dreaded people; they are a law to themselves and promote their own honor.  Their horses are swifter than leopards, fiercer than wolves at dusk. Their cavalry gallops headlong; their horsemen come from afar. They fly like an eagle swooping to devour;  they all come intent on violence. Their hordes advance like a desert wind and gather prisoners like sand.  They mock kings and scoff at rulers. They laugh at all fortified cities; by building earthen ramps they capture them.  Then they sweep past like the wind and go on— guilty people, whose own strength is their god.”

Habakkuk 2:2-4 NKJV Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry. “Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.

The key is verse 4 “Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.

James 4:8 says,
"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." As you contemplate a life change, make sure your decisions are rooted firmly in the divine guidance that is available to you when you get quiet to listen.

Habakkuk never lived to see the vision, which is in chapter 2:5-19 in the NKJV  that section of scripture is titled ”woe to the wicked” and it describes what is going to happen to the Babylonians who, although God used them to punish Judah, overdid it in addition to the overall evil of the nation. 

The point is that Habakkuk never saw the answer just as we may never see the answer.

Here's what Habakkuk said;

Habakkuk 3:16-18 NIV I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us.  Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,  yet I will rejoice in the Lord , I will be joyful in God my Savior.

Remember Habakkuk never saw the fulfillment of his prophecy where God finally dealt with the injustice in Judah and then done by Babylon.  The prophecy was fulfilled and his prayer answer but he was long gone. 

The answer may come after you go to be with the Lord.  Even if that's the case, I want us to remember that God is still faithful.  Remember what I said last week, don't ever forget that God loves you and He is faithful.  He is a promise keeper.

2 Corinthians 1:18-22 NIV But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silas and Timothy—was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Habakkuk gives us three little words that we can cling to when it appears that God has not delivered on what he promised. No matter what you might be going through, never let go of these three words.

If you want to be able to grow closer to God—no matter what—then these are the three words you need to remember on your journey toward intimacy and ultimate trust and faith in him.

The three words are in Habakkuk 2:20 they are;

“But the Lord . . .” We hear people say “but God” when they are going through or had gone through and come out of something. 

The rest of the verse is in his holy Temple. Let all the earth be silent before him”.

Habakkuk 2:20 NKJV “But the Lord is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him.”

Today that temple is you.  God’s presence is with, in fact is in you.  You may never get an answer, the world may seem upside down, but the Lord is still there in His Holy Temple.

When you have nowhere else to turn, when your own ideas and resources have evaporated, when your control over a situation is in shambles, God is still there. When you don't know and can’t tell if he’s even listening, God is still there.

If the answer never comes but the still there. 

Bible Study Audio

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Daniel Prayer - Session 7 - Pleading With Clarity

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. 

Romans 8:26-27 ERV Also, the Spirit helps us. We are very weak, but the Spirit helps us with our weakness. We don’t know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit himself speaks to God for us. He begs God for us, speaking to him with feelings too deep for words. God already knows our deepest thoughts. And he understands what the Spirit is saying, because the Spirit speaks for his people in the way that agrees with what God wants.

Romans 8:26-28 MSG Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

We don’t have to know specifically how or what to pray in order to submit to our Father’s guiding whisper. Sometimes I believe we’re intimidated to pray beyond the limits of what we can imagine or understand. But God knows what’s ahead and how He wants to answer and use us.

It’s encouraging to be reassured that I don’t have to know everything, understand everything, analyze everything before I pray for something. In our previous studies we’ve talked about prayer energizing us to act, but that doesn't mean we act in our own power. 

We don’t have to know everything, understand everything, analyze everything before I pray for something. We don’t have to have a clear comprehension of what the need is or what the solution should be. We don’t have to tell God how to “fix” things or even suggest what His course of action might be. We don’t have to solve the problem for Him. What a relief it is to know all we have to do is to get down on our knees and state the problem. The burden to resolve the situation is His, not yours and mine.


But before he gives his model for prayer in Matthew 6, Jesus provides important context:
 And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (Matt. 6:5–8)
 Matthew 6:1 is the key to understanding this passage.

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
Matthew 6:1 NIV

Here Jesus says, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” The first and most urgent warning Jesus gives is a warning against a quality of religion or reverence that is public and ostentatious that offers nothing that is stimulating or challenging and is false. This type of reverence  draws attention to the one praying, because it's designed to reveal them super religious.

The way we pray will reveal either the superficial, insincere nature of our faith or the glory of God.  Jesus is clear that those who wish to be seen as super spiritual have already received their reward.

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.
Matthew 6:5 NIV

For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
Matthew 23:12 NIV

We can pursue the glory of the Father by humbling ourselves in secret, or we can pursue our own glory by exalting ourselves before others. We can’t do both.
We want to make sure that we don't fall into the trap of thinking we have to impress others when we pray.

As David what the Lord really wants is a broken and contrite heart.

You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.  My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.
Psalm 51:16-17 NIV

In other words a prayer that is offered in humility.

Too often when we pray, we seem to forget God already knows the details of our requests and how to respond in His infinite wisdom.

God is God! He can do anything and He knows everything. All you and I need to do is lay our burdens at His feet. Place them in His capable hands.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6-7 NIV


Daniel's pleading seems to become more intense as he prays.

Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us.  “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”
Daniel 9:16-19 NIV

In his intensity of Daniel based his prayer on God’s promises throughout history.  Not just Jeremiah's prophecy.

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. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord , “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord , “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
Jeremiah 29:10-14 NIV

Including the promises mentioned by Solomon when he dedicated the temple.

When Solomon had finished the temple of the Lord and the royal palace, and had succeeded in carrying out all he had in mind to do in the temple of the Lord and in his own palace, the Lord appeared to him at night and said: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices.  “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my 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 I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.
2 Chronicles 7:11-16 NIV
Here is Anne’s paraphrase of Daniel 9:16-19.

O God, in keeping with Your own righteous acts, hear my prayer when I cry to You. You said Your eyes would be open to prayers that are offered in the temple in Jerusalem. But, O God, there is no Jerusalem and there is no temple there. You have poured out Your wrath on Your city. On Your holy hill. “You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing upon us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem” (9:12).
Look on the burned-out buildings, the piles of rubble, the broken-down walls, the place where You said You would place Your Name. How can I pray from there? I can only pray from here. But I hold You to Your Word, O Lord God. You said Your Name would be on Jerusalem forever. You have said Your eyes would be on her and Your heart would be there. So, O God, open Your eyes and look on Your city! Look on Jerusalem. O God, open Your ears and listen! Hear my cry. Be attentive to my prayer. Forgive us! Release us! Restoreus! Revive us!

The Daniel Prayer does not teach us to pray for what we want God to do for us or for our family or for our church or for our nation for our world. The Daniel Prayer teaches you and me to pray until we enter into the very heart of the Father and discover what it is He wants to do for us or what He wants to give us. We discover His “wants” through the promises in His Word which the Holy Spirit will impress on our hearts.

As the intensity of our prayer increases our perspective changes from the temporary to the eternal. From our perspective to God's perspective.

We need to pray until we can unload all we are thinking and all we want in order to get down to what God is thinking and what He wants. Then we ask Him for what we know He wants to give us.


In prayer which, as we know should be a conversation with God, we can. if we listen, can discover what it is that God really wants for us.   The example that Anne gives is that, although Abraham may have been concerned about others in Sodom his main concern was for his nephew Lot.  That may be why in his negotiation with God he kept reducing the number of righteous that God would accept and not destroy the city. 

 When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. Then the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.  For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”  Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”  The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord .  Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”  The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”  Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?” “If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”  Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?” He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.”  Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?” He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”  Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?” He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”  Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?” He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”  When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.
Genesis 18:16-33 NIV

Well there weren't even 10 but God did answer Abraham's prayer and spare Lot. 

With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”  When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the Lord . He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace.  So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived.
Genesis 19:15-16, 27-29 NIV

When we get to the place that we can begin to discover God’s perspective then we become more sensitive to the Holy Spirit's direction.  


Jesus promised His disciples that the Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth, bringing to their minds the things they needed to remember.

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
John 14:26 NIV

“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.  But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
John 16:12-13 NIV

One application of what Jesus promised was that as we pray, God the Holy Spirit would bring to our minds the Scripture on which we need to base our prayers.  The Holy Spirit can’t bring to our remembrance things we have never known. Which is one reason it’s so important to read and saturate ourselves in Scripture so that it's available for the Holy Spirit to pull up from the recesses of our memories as we pray.

Take your Bible into your place of prayer. As you read it, open your heart and mind to His still, small voice that will whisper in your “ear” and give direction to your thoughts and words. In prayer, be sensitive to Him.


So far we've talked about preparing for prayer where we commit ourselves to prayer; we become compelled to pray; we set our focus on God as we begin our plea; we plead with confidence, with confession last week and now with clarity this week, all leading up to the reason for a specific prayer in the case of Daniel for Judah to be returned from exile, and for us our nation or any pressing desire or need.  In other words the bottom line.  For Daniel it was;

Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”
Daniel 9:19 NIV
Regardless of whether or not Daniel had humbled himself enough . . .
Regardless of whether or not Daniel had fasted long enough . . .
Regardless of whether or not Daniel’s confession had been thorough enough . .

Regardless of whether or not Daniel had claimed Scripture enough . . .
Bottom line, Daniel’s priority in prayer was that God’s Name be cleared. Exalted. Glorified.

Daniel longed for the nations of the world to recognize that Israel’s God is God. He longed for the world to acknowledge that his God is indeed faithful and gracious and good and great.

After we worship God, confess our sins, center our focus on God and His will we need to get to the point, which is that in the answer to our prayer God is glorified.

Even if our priorities are;

Relief from pain?

Reconciliation of a relationship?
 Restoration of health?
 Resolution of financial issues?
Recognition of your profile?
Reinstatement to your job?
Removal of an enemy?
Repression of gossip?
Rescue from trouble?
Reward for well-doing?

As we see all the injustice, hate, greed, and  unrighteousness going on in this country and world, until Jesus comes we can pray that as was Daniel's priority;
God’s Name be cleared. Exalted. Glorified, so that the world acknowledges that God is indeed faithful and gracious and good and great.

We can long for and pray:

for truth to triumph over lies, for love to triumph over hate,
for peace to triumph over war, for right to triumph over wrong,

for good to triumph over evil . . .
for the world, at long last, to be ruled rightly with justice and mercy and truth and love and peace.
for every eye to see, and for every knee to bow, and for every tongue to confess that Jesus Christ is . . .
The Prince of Peace,
the Son of God,
 the Son of Man,
the Messiah of Israel,
the Creator who became our Savior,
the Lord of lords and the King of kings . . .
to the glory of God the Father!

for the world to see Jesus as He truly is.

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,  and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:9-11 NIV

Bible Study Audio