DARE TO BE A DANIEL

Motivated to Pray

Daniel 9

Jerry A Collins

SCC

10/24/04

 

*               How is prayer relevant in our relationship with God?

*               Is confession of sin and repentance important in prayer?

*               What is Gods future plan for His people?

 

Have you ever been motivated to pray? This past week we heard about Jamie and Aarons car accident and immediately we were motivated to pray. In Bible class this week I asked the students if they had any requests for prayer. One student mentioned being on a retreat the past weekend and a 13 year old girl was there who was pregnant. We prayed. 9/11 motivated us to pray. We just received the wonderful news that a we will become a great uncle and aunt this next year. Motivated to pray for health and birth. Daniel was motivated to pray as well. Specifically we are informed in Daniel 9 that his prayer was result of an observation he made from one of Jeremiahs prophecies (Jer 25:1-14). There Jeremiah warned the Jews for years that Gods judgment was coming in form of Babylonian captivity. The length would be 70 yrs and then the captivity would end. First, Babylon would be punished for severe treatment toward Jews & second, Jews would return to Israel to rebuild Temple. Until now Daniel could not pray the prayer of Chp 9 for God had commanded Jews not to pray for Israel (Jer 7:16; 11:14; 14:11). The judgment is non-negotiable and inevitable and prayer would not change that. Daniel was studying prophecy and the number of years in Jer and took both literally.

1-3 These events occur during 1st yr of Darius meaning Belshazzar has died, Babylonian empire ended, Medo-Persian empire arrived. So the period of divine judgment has ended and time of Jews returning to the land is drawing near. Now Daniel could pray for his people and motivated to do so he devotes himself to this task!

1. UNDERSTANDING GOD AND HIS WORD MOTIVATES PRAYER

What lies behind Daniels usefulness to God was his praying. What lies behind his motivation for praying is Daniels knowledge of God and His Word. We see this in his prayer and one that we can emulate. First he prays a prayer of confession before the Lord 4-15.

(1) Daniels posture before God was humility. His praying was accompanied by fasting, sackcloth and ashes. (2) His prayers were expressions of confessions of sin and repentance 4-11, 14-15. Israels captivity was deserved and a consequence of her sin against God. Confessing both his sins and the peoples sins. But he lists these sins specifically not just generally. We should confess specific sin not just a pile of sin. (3) His prayers address God theologically mentioning His attributes (Greatness 4, keeps promises 4, lovingkindness 4, compassion & forgiveness 9). We should specifically rehearse the attributes of God and the works that flow from them. (4) His prayers were grounded in Gods Word and history 13-15. He says the judgments were according to His Word and His history with His people is proof of Who He is, a God of history and revelation not mysticism and blind faith. Based in real acts of real history. Now he offers a prayer of petition to the Lord 16-19.

(1) His petition was consistent with promises of God 16. He understood the 70yrs captivity had been fulfilled so Israel could be restored. He was agreeing with Gods Word to do what he had promised thru the Law and the prophets. Our petitions to God should be motivated by the promises He has given to us as well.

(2) His petition is a request for God to act in His own best interests and name 17-19. Thy sake, Thy name, Thy name. It is not a petition for God to act in our best interests or best meets our needs but rather in His name and for His name. Our weakness in prayer is a weakness of knowing who God is. When God acts in His own interests, that always serves our best interests.

(3) His petition is for Gods grace, mercy and compassion. There can be no restoration unless there is forgiveness. Sinful persons cannot ask for anything but grace and mercy! This prayer is not made on basis of any merit of his or his people for an answer. He did not claim anything but he pleaded for mercy.

(4) He makes a strong repeated appeal for God to respond based on what God said He would do in His Word. We can expect God to answer when He has given us promises He said He would answer.

So effective prayers are Bible-centered prayers motivated by the knowledge of God.

2. GOD GIVES INSIGHT INTO HIS FUTURE PLANS IN RESPONSE TO PRAYER

The prophetic information we now have available is in response to the prayers of Daniel. We can peer into the future because Daniel prayed. We may have very little idea of how our prayers will effect the future but Daniels illustrates that they can and they do.

20-23 We have an appearance by Gabriel. He interrupted Daniels praying with an answer. This is second time he appears in Daniel. Here he comes to give insight with understanding of the vision. No new vision is here in Chp 9 so 12 yrs later, Daniel receives further clarification about the vision he received in Chp 8. In 8:27 he did not understand it but now receives the insight he was praying 12 yrs. (ALL FUTURE) 24-27 (1) 70 weeks decreed meaning 70 periods of 7 or 490 yrs. Daniel been considering Jer 25:11 & 29:10 regarding 70 yr captivity. This captivity result of violating sabbatical year which was to be observed every 6 yrs (2 Chr 36:21). Each year of captivity represented one 7 yr cycle in which the 7th or Sabbath yr had not been observed. So clear its yrs not days. So he saw 490 yrs into Israels future. Must be yrs not days or weeks because impossible to fit events in otherwise of 24-27.

(2) 6 purposes for these 490 yrs. 1. Israels disobedience brot to an end most likely at 2nd coming. 2. End of sin when they are grafted back in (Romans 11). 3. Make atonement for iniquity covered with blood. 4. Establish everlasting righteousness bringing in a new age. 5. Seal up vision and prophecy Christ is end of it all. 6. To anoint Christ as King. All of these for Israel and none has been fulfilled to that nation so far. (3) These 490 yrs begin with decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem including a plaza and moat even in times of distress. Most likely the same one given to Nehemiah 2:1-8 by Artaxerxes for both the city and its walls done in distressing times about 444BC.

(4) Messiah is cut off after 69th week leaving one more period of 7 left yet to be fulfilled. This is Christs crucifixion and He is rejected with no kingdom 26a. 7 yrs still left.

(5) The Romans, same people of Anti-Christ of revived Roman empire in future, will destroy this temple and city 70ad 26b and only further wars and desolations for the Jews to follow this.

(6) Covenant confirmed for 7 yrs of 70th 7 but broken in middle. In last half of the 7 terrible persecution (Mt 24-25, Rev 4-19, 12:14). Yet future.

So Daniel like a man who climbed mountain only to view a larger one further in the distance. Gods horizon much further, much more encompassing than just 70 yrs. Gods plan much bigger than just physical Jerusalem on a much broader scale 490 yrs and more!

1. Present circumstances often appear to contradict Gods promises for the future. We must peer into our circumstances with an eye of faith.

2. Prayer is our responsibility. Answers to our prayers is Gods responsibility. Like Daniel lets fulfill our responsibility and pray about everything and everyday.

3. Since Gods plan for the future includes the land and nation of Israel. Lets pray for that plan to be fulfilled.