|Theme: Immediate Answer to Prayer
|Focus on: Daniel
|Reading Portion(s): Daniel 9, Jeremiah 25:11,12; 29:10 & 2 Chronicles 36:21.|
|– Important Background Information|
|– Helps you find strength in God|
|What this article teaches you|
|There is a promise in the Bible which says: “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24 NIV). Blessed is the man who has experienced this. Yes, God surprises us at times with the speed with which He answers our prayers. These answers are given to those prayers that cry out to God seeking His mercy.
Such prayers involve the entire being of the one who prays. His mind and soul and spirit and body are all involved in this kind of praying. God is moved by such praying. And He sends quick answers. Such answers comfort and strengthen us. They increase our confidence in God and in prayer.
We here come across yet another incident of prayer in the life of Daniel. Here we see him as an ardent and keen student of the Scriptures. Out of his understanding of the Scriptures that he was reading was born this prayer.
Daniel was reading the book of Jeremiah. It was a time of change in leadership in the Babylonian kingdom and Darius had come to power in that year. Daniel understood from the writing of Jeremiah that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.
Daniel was carried into exile from Jerusalem when it was destroyed. So he was intimately attached to the city that now lay in ruins. He regularly prayed for the restoration of Jerusalem and the Jewish people to their land. But now he literally understood from the Scriptures that God had determined the time for Jerusalem to lie desolate as seventy years.
Now he had something definite to pray about. He might have been able to calculate the number of years since the captivity and exile. So he must have reached the conclusion that the end of the seventy years was very near. This might have made his heart rejoice. But instead of stopping praying seeing that the restoration of Jerusalem was near; the prophet Daniel resorts to intense prayer.
There is a lesson here. When we come to know that God is going to do a thing soon, instead of relaxing it should set us praying. Here Daniel is praying with great intensity. He was fasting and wearing sackcloth and pleading with God for His favor on His people.
He addresses God as One who keeps His covenant of love; a righteous God. He confesses the sins of his people with special emphasis on their disobedience to God’s word which came through the prophets. He admits the fact that they are now covered with shame because of their rebellion against God. He tells God that the curses that were written in the Scriptures given through Moses had fallen on them and the destruction of Jerusalem is overwhelming.
He then pleads with God who brought the Israelites out of Egypt to turn away from His anger against Jerusalem. He asks God to look with favor on the city that housed His sanctuary that is now in ruins. He tells God that they are making this request not because of their righteousness; but because of God’s great mercy. He finally pleads with God to listen to their cries and forgive their sins for the sake of God’s name and the city that bears His name.
There was a great confession of sin in this prayer. He confessed the sins of the entire nation. And while he was thus engaged in prayer the angel Gabriel came to Daniel. He came speedily to Daniel about the time of the evening sacrifice. He told Daniel that he had come to give him understanding and insight. He was further told that as soon as he began to pray an answer was given. It was this answer that he, Gabriel, carried now to Daniel.
As we look at the way Daniel prayed we find something special about it. It was simple and straightforward. He was speaking and praying. He was confessing and requesting. He was pleading and petitioning. He was fasting and was in sackcloth and ashes. It all tells us that this man was intensely passionate about his praying. He was so engrossed and enthused in his praying. This is that kind of praying that moves the heart of God.
Then look at the timing of the answer. As soon as he began to pray the answer was given. The angel sped in swift flight with the message to Daniel.
This is how God surprises us at times. This is how God comforts us at times. We come to such crucial crossroads in life when we have none to help. We know that only God can help. We have none to cry out on our behalf. We desperately sense that God has to do something. Then we are moved to pray like never before. Our entire being is involved in this kind of praying. Our heart in agony is lifted up to the throne of God.
And then even before we finish praying, like soft rain descending on a hot summer afternoon cools the body and mind, comes the answer to our prayer. The immediacy of the answer surprises us like a bolt of lightning. The memory of the comfort that it brings will remain long and fresh in our minds till our dying day. Such is the way that God answers such kind of praying. What a merciful God!
The message that God gave Daniel foretold the exact time of the appearing of the Anointed One and His death; a clear reference to the Messiah. It also looked forward to the end times and events associated with it. We can now look forward to its fulfillment with much prayer.