Isaiah 54:3 – « For you shall spread abroad to the right and left; your descendants shall dispossess the nations and shall people the deserted cities. »
As we come into the final days of the Daniel Fast 2019 I want to talk to you about the different levels of prayer and intercession available to us. The prayers we pray as a baby Christian are generally focused on ourselves: what we need, what we would like to see happen around us. In essence, it is a wish list that we present to God. This is completely acceptable, but whether or not we are praying according to His will is questionable. As we grow in Christ we learn to pray for others. This is better, for the Scripture says it is better to give than to receive. But still, we are presenting before God our wish list, without knowing whether something is God’s will or not.
The prophet Daniel found another way to pray, which I believe we need to develop today. Daniel lived during the time of the Babylonian captivity. In studying the writings of the prophet Jeremiah, he discovered that God had fixed a designated period of 70 years for the exile. Then Daniel got a calendar and calculated the specific time when the Jews were to return. He realized that the time was very near; so he set himself to pray for this to come to pass.
Many of us would have seen Daniel’s prayers as without value. You and I might think that if God had already decided exactly when to send the Jews back to Israel, He didn’t need anyone to pray about it. But Daniel understood that prophecy isn’t a guarantee; prophecy is an invitation. A word from heaven always seeks a host on earth who will believe it. Until then, the word will lay dormant. Our faith activates the power of the word. Daniel believed the word of God and determined to pray with fasting until the Lord answered him clearly. This act of proactive prayer is the inspiration behind the Daniel Fast.
For more than two and a half weeks, you and I have been eating, very likely, in the same way that Daniel did. Now it is time for us to learn how to pray like Daniel did. How do we do that?
The first step is to spend quality time in God’s presence and God’s word every day. This is the only kind of soil fertile enough to receive a specific word from heaven. The second step is to hear the heartbeat of God for whatever subject you are praying for. If you are new to this kind of prayer, hearing God’s voice may be difficult at first. But don’t give up. Eventually you will discern among the many voices in your head the one that belongs to your Heavenly Father. The third step is, once you’ve gotten a clear vision of God’s will, you write it down and meditate upon it until it becomes a part of your soul. If your prayers don’t move you, they won’t move heaven on your behalf. The revelation of God’s will to you must become more real than the physical elements around you. Only then will your prayers become truly powerful.
The fourth and final step is to persevere against all obstacles. In prayer, Daniel fought against what was at that time one of the most powerful of all demonic forces in the world. This kind of prayer is not for the faint of heart. But it is the kind of prayer that truly changes things and advances the kingdom of heaven.
Speaking of Daniel, the Holy Spirit is wanting to enlarge our VISION to see what He can do through us, as it says in Daniel 11:32 (ASV) : « …the people that know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. » Knowing God is the ultimate purpose of life, and the result of all we experience … if we press in, press onwards, and press upwards. We are called to « do exploits » WITH Him, not FOR Him, for He delights in partnering with His children. When we are closer to Him, He will let us see what He sees. Saul of Tarsus had an encounter with God … and started to see Christians differently. (Acts 9) Peter had an encounter with God on a rooftop and started to see non-Jews differently. (Acts 10). If we pursue encounters with God, we will no doubt see our environment differently … and that’s what will inspire us to « enlarge the space of our tent » and do exploits which reveal the mighty, loving God who lives in us!