Things that got done before we went on vacation: laundry, packing, cleaning the bathrooms, wrapping up the Bible study unit I had due the end of July.
Things that didn’t get done: writing and scheduling blog posts. (Looks sheepish).
We’re going to get back to the Confessions of a Control Freak series next week, but I wanted to share with you the verse I’ve had running through my head the last two weeks:
When you began making your requests, a word went out, and I’ve come to tell it to you because you are greatly treasured. (Daniel 9:23)
When you began making your requests. . .
One of these days I’m going to write about what we can learn about prayer from Daniel. Daniel was committed to prayer even when it was costly (lion’s den, anyone?) He was disciplined in prayer. He heard from God in prayer, and in chapter 9 we see that Daniel let Scripture guide his prayers. In the first year of King Darius’ reign, Daniel began pondering the scrolls–copies of the books of the law and the prophets. Jeremiah had prophesied that Judah would serve the king of Babylon for 70 years (Jeremiah 25:11). Daniel recognized that the 70 years appointed for the exile were now completed. It drove Daniel to prayer. Daniel confessed the sins of his people and asked God to act on behalf of his people once more.
While Daniel was still speaking, the angel Gabriel came with a message for Daniel. Daniel says it three times: “while I was still speaking . . . while I was still praying my prayer for help . . . while I was still speaking this prayer, the man Gabriel approached me” (Daniel 9:20-21).
Never fear that your prayers are unheard. God moved to respond to Daniel’s prayer as soon as Daniel began speaking. Does it always happen that swiftly? No. Later, Daniel labors in prayer for three weeks before receiving an answer because there was a spiritual battle being fought he didn’t know was going on. Sometimes we wait in prayer because God wants to to do something in us so we are ready to receive his answer. And sometimes we have to accept that no is our answer. But our prayers are always heard.
. . . a word went out . . .
Prayer is powerful. In prayer we invite our Father God to bring heaven’s power to bear in our circumstance. And God is not stingy about his blessings. Daniel prayed. God answered–and he answered powerfully. Let us never forget that the prayer of a righteous man–or woman–is powerful and effective. Prayer is not our last line of defense; it is the first and best weapon of our warfare.
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. . . because you are greatly treasured.
God’s response to prayer is motivated by his love for us. You are greatly treasured by our great God. You don’t have to twist God’s arm or guilt him into giving you what you need. It delights God to respond to your prayers because you are greatly treasured. “He didn’t spare His own Son, but gave him up for us all. Won’t he also freely give us all things with him?” (Romans 8:32).
Let that truth sink down in your heart: you are greatly treasured. Maybe the people in your life who should have treasured you didn’t. Maybe you’re carrying around a long list of labels and accusations that have been thrown at you over the years. Maybe life’s heartaches make it feel like the world is against you and God is too. Know this: you are precious to the Most High. When you pray, God hears you because you matter to him.
Q: How does knowing that you are greatly treasured impact your prayers?
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