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Defiant Prayer

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
August 30, 2022 9:00 am

Defiant Prayer

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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August 30, 2022 9:00 am

How’s your prayer life been lately? For most Americans, it usually consists of just a stock prayer before meals and an S-O-S when you’re in the middle of a crisis.

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Today on Summit Life with JD Greer. Daniel did not get his marching orders from the king or the daily newspaper or what was popular now or what was trending on Twitter or what was deemed socially acceptable or politically correct. Daniel got his marching orders from God.

Because when you try to please everybody, you will fail. But when you are concerned with pleasing only God, it makes decision making much easier. Welcome back to Summit Life with pastor, author, and theologian, JD Greer. I'm your host, Molly Vinovich, and we're thankful to be jumping into God's Word with you again today. Before we get started with today's program, let me ask you, how's your prayer life been lately? For most Americans, it usually consists of just the same old stock prayer before meals and thanking God for your food and an occasional SOS set up when you're in the middle of a crisis. But prayer is meant for so much. And it's way more powerful than you could ever dream.

As always, if you miss any of our programs, or if you're in the search of our featured monthly resource, you can find it all online at jdgreer.com or by giving us a call at 866-335-5220. That gives us that all the blessings that God wants to give to us, He does so by the means of believing prayer. Prayer is the conduit by which His power comes into our lives, and the conduit by which His power is released in our families. John Wesley, the pioneer of the Great Awakening in our country, famously said that he was convinced that everything that God did on earth, He did in answer to prayer. Now, that is clearly an overstatement, but what he's getting at is the challenge of prayer. It's the truth that when God wants to do something in your life, when He wants to release power, He does so by the means of prayer.

Prayer is the way that we lay hold of the promises and the blessings of God and we make them our own. The Apostle Paul tells us that all the promises of God are yes for us in Christ Jesus. So there's a sense in which every promise in that book belongs to you.

And so I told you that I want you to read the Bible through every year, yes, I think that's great. But even more importantly, you need to pray through your Bible. You need to learn to take the promises of God that are there, and you need to make them your own, because that's how God's power and blessing comes into your life.

Prayer is when you add the wave of your faith to the wave of God's promise, the wave of God's expressed intention, and that releases the laser of His power onto earth. The question I left you with last week is simply this, where is the power and the blessing of God absent from your life? Where is it absent from your family, simply because you've not risen up to claim the blessing and the power of God is your own? It's not that God's not willing to give it to you, it's not that He doesn't care.

It's just that you've never risen up to grab a hold of the blessing that He intended for you and make it your own through prayer. Last week, we took a look at a guy named Jacob, a man who had laid hold of the promise and blessing that God had for him through a night of wrestling and prayer with God. You know, I told you that this was a blessing that God had declared over him already, but it didn't actually become his, the blessing did not take root in his life until he had wrestled all night with God and grabbed a hold of it himself. Today, we're going to look at another guy whose life was very similar, Daniel. Now, even if you've only been in church a few times, you went to Sunday school a couple times as a kid, Daniel's one of those stories that you likely know, isn't it? Daniel's one of the most famous Bible heroes of all time, so what I want to do is I want to spend a little time in his life looking at a few things. We're going to be in Daniel 6, and I'm going to try to show you three things about Daniel's life and his relationship to prayer, because that's a major theme in Daniel's life. Three things about Daniel's prayer, I'm going to show you, first of all, Daniel's discipline in prayer, or discipline of prayer. Secondly, I'm going to try to show you Daniel's defiance through prayer, and then I'm going to show you Daniel's endurance in prayer. Daniel's discipline, Daniel's defiance, endurance, but if you put the emphasis on dur, right, endurance, then it's alike.

It starts with D, so that's the best I can do, so you just have to live with it. Daniel 6, verse 1. Let me give you, before I read this, I always fake you out. Okay, look, let me give you a little context for this, just because I want you to be able to make sense of the story. Daniel was an Israelite captive that had been carried off to Babylon and probably some scholars say, somewhere during his middle school years. You see, God had told Israel that if they were not faithful to him, that he would send them out of the promised land of Israel into exile.

Well, sure enough, after years of repeated unfaithfulness and refusing to heed the warnings given to them by prophets, God kept his word. And in 586, Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, rode down with the Babylonian armies and killing thousands of the inhabitants of Jerusalem and putting a bunch more into cages and carting them off as captives and slaves. As I mentioned, Daniel, during this time, was likely in his middle school years, which means that he probably saw his parents murdered in front of his eyes and then he was put into a cage and he was taken off into Babylon. Well, after he got there, evidently, Daniel was a pretty bright kid because Babylon decided they were going to start an intern program where they were going to select some of the best and brightest young men in Babylon to train as interns in the palace. And they decided they wanted to have some of the Jewish captive young men to be a part of that. Because that way they could train them, brainwash them in Babylonian ways, and then use them to lead the Jewish people. Well, through a series of events, after Daniel gets brought into this program, God blesses him and Daniel distinguishes himself above all the others.

First, a number of ways this happened. First, Daniel chapter 1, the king commanded that all these interns eat a very strict diet that he thought would make them healthy and smart. So Daniel said, well, we can't eat these things. And Daniel's supervisor said, well, you got to eat them because this is what the king thinks will make you healthiest and smartest. And if you don't eat it, by the way, we'll just execute you and replace you with somebody else.

And so Daniel said, well, look, why don't we try this? I'm on my own diet. I'm on the Jenny Craig diet. I only eat vegetables and fruits.

That's not true. But I am on this diet. Why don't you give us 10 days?

Me and my friends shout at me, shout at me, and they go, why don't you give us 10 days and then just look at us after that and see if we look like we're suffering? Well, sure enough, after 10 days, their complexion is better, their bodies are stronger, and so Daniel proved his courage and God proved his faithfulness. Daniel chapter 2, you find out that God gave Daniel an unusual amount of skill in all the maths and sciences so that he distinguished himself above everybody else in every single subject. Plus, God gave Daniel the unusual ability to interpret dreams, which caught people's attention. Because not only could Daniel tell you what was in the books that he studied, but he could also tell you what was in your head that you dreamed the night before. Daniel knew, it seemed like he knew everything. He was like the Old Testament version of Google.

You just asked him, and bam, out comes the answer. Well, it says finally that God put an excellent spirit in Daniel, which we don't know exactly what that phrase means, but I take it to mean that he just exuded such favor and graciousness that you just love to be around him. You know people like that. Daniel chapter 6, all that leads into Daniel 6, that's the context. Daniel 6 verse 1, it pleased Darius, who was the king who had replaced Nebuchadnezzar, to set over the kingdom 120 state traps. I don't really know what that is, but some kind of government official.

Sounds like something you hunt with, but no, it's a government official. And over them, verse 2, three high officials, of whom Daniel was one, to whom these state traps should give an account. So out of these interns, 120 were selected to rule the country. And then they selected three to behead over those state traps, and Daniel was one of those. Daniel the Jew was one of those. And then verse 3, this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and state traps because an excellent spirit was in him, and the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.

Now, did you catch that? Here's a Jew that is going to be number two in the whole kingdom right behind the king. All these other Babylonian interns are jealous, and their rich, influential parents are jealous that this Jew is going to be over everybody.

So they, the high officials and the state traps, sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom. But they could find no ground because he was faithful and no error or fault was in him. They looked at his tax returns, they were dead on. They looked at his private life, no skeletons in his closet. They looked on his Facebook account, nothing shady had been posted.

He had no outstanding parking tickets. There was nothing they could pin on him. Then verse 5, these men said, we shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God. By the way, you're in a pretty good way when that's all they can say. The problem with that guy is he obeys God way too much. That's what they said about Daniel. Verse 6, then these high officials and state traps came by agreement to the king and they said, oh Darius, great king, live forever. You know, you should know when somebody opens the conversation that way that it's not headed in a good direction. Right?

I mean, oh your awesomeness, you're just so awesome. He should have known that, but Darius was stupid. So verse 6, verse 7, all of us, the high officials of the kingdom, the prefects and the state traps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction that whoever makes petition to any god or man for 30 days except to you, oh king, shall be cast into the den of lions. The den, of course, was their ultimate form of punishment. So here's the rule.

Nobody can pray to anybody except for you for 30 days. And so they'll get cast into the den of lions. Verse 8, now, oh king, establish the injunction and sign the document so that it cannot be changed according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which can never be revoked. The law of the Medes and the Persians was this code that said that once something had been signed into law, it could not be undone even if all the parties changed their minds and thought it was a bad idea. Think blood covenant or pinky swear or sequester order.

It would be a way of thinking about that in our day and time. Verse 9, therefore, King Darius signed the document and the injunction he fell victim to flattery and bad political advice. I love this next verse. Verse 10, when Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, just like he had done previously. Daniel did not get his marching orders from the king or the daily newspaper or the school administration officials or what was popular now or what was trending on Twitter or what was deemed socially acceptable or politically correct or anything else. Daniel got his marching orders from God, which was, by the way, the key to his success because when you try to please everybody, you will fail. But when you are concerned with pleasing only God, it makes, first of all, decision making much easier because you know that there's a lot of decisions you don't have to make because you know that you're going to please God and God himself prospered Daniel because of it. That was the key to his success as he lived for an audience of one. He knew that whatever decisions he was going to make was one he needed to please and that was God because God was in charge of his success.

You were listening to Summit Life with J.D. Greer and a message titled Defiant Prayer. You know, deep down, many of us really don't feel like prayer makes a difference.

And even more, we don't fully understand the love that God has for us and therefore his desire to answer those prayers. So this month we are offering a bundle of resources to help make praying regularly and with greater confidence a little bit easier. It's three books, each called Five Things to Pray. They will cover how to pray for your city and community, praying for your kids and praying for your parents. Each of these relationships matter to us, and even more, they matter to God. So presenting these requests is something God not only loves to hear, but longs to answer.

So give us a call today at 866-335-5220 or go online to jdgreer.com to reserve your copies. Now let's get back to our teaching. Here's Pastor J.D. Now let me extrapolate three things out of that story that I mentioned to you about Daniel's prayer.

Here they are. Number one, I'm going to rephrase them to apply to our lives. Number one, our prayer should be characterized by discipline.

Our prayer should be characterized by discipline. This story tells us that Daniel prayed routinely three times a day. I'll make the case for you that this was one of the primary sources of Daniel's strength. This was what gave him the ability to withstand the empire. It's what gave him the ability to prosper. It's what gave him the ability to face the lion's den is that he met with God as often as he ate. As often as he drew physical strength, he drew spiritual strength. The most important discipline that I have in my life is daily meeting with God.

My parents taught it to me when I was a teenager, and by God's grace, with his help, that has been a part of my life almost every day since I was a teenager. It's just daily meeting with God to be able to bring to him these things and to let his power and his strength come into me. Honestly, those of you that do not have a time where you meet with God every day, I don't know how you do it. I really don't. I don't know how you gain the wisdom to make decisions. I don't know how you have the strength to maintain your marriage and other relationships. I don't know how you deal with difficulty.

I don't know how you deal with difficult people. I don't know how you raise your children because that is the lifeblood for me because it is the place where God's wisdom and his power, it's the vehicle, the conduit by which God releases that strength. That's the key to Daniel's strength is that he meets with God three times a day.

Jesus, before he made decisions and before he chose his 12 disciples, spent all night in prayer, all night. When's the last time you spent a significant amount of time in prayer before you made a decision? Were you going to go to college? Where are you going to major in? Who are you going to date?

Who are you going to marry? Maybe you don't need it because maybe Jesus was just, maybe he needed that kind of stuff because he was weak. I would say that if Jesus felt like he needed that kind of prayer coverage before he made significant decisions, it'd probably be a good idea for me and you that we would make significant decisions that we have in prayer.

I bring this up to our staff all the time. You look at the children of Israel in the Old Testament. What you find out is that the places where they went wrong, Joshua 11, is when they forgot to pray about certain decisions and just made them because they looked obvious to them. I would say that you are cutting yourself off from the life and power of God in your family and your life unless you have a daily time that you meet with God and his power flows into you.

Let me prove this to you by an example on the other side. The night before Jesus died, he took his disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane where he wanted to pray because he knew he was about to undergo the trial of his life. He took three of his disciples, Peter, James, and John, went a little farther into the Garden of Gethsemane and told them to pray for an hour. He said, watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation.

Then he went off a little farther and spent some time by himself. He came back at least a couple of times during that hour and he found them not praying but sleeping and he woke them up. I'm sure when he woke them up, they tried to pretend like they had been praying.

God bless the missionaries, in Jesus' name, amen. I'm sure they tried that, but Jesus is omniscient so he wasn't fooled. He said, could you even watch and pray with me for an hour? Now, we know that Peter left that Garden of Gethsemane after sleeping through that hour and what did he do? He denied Jesus three times. What did Jesus told him?

Pray because you're going into temptation. What if he made it through that hour of prayer? Might it be that he would not have denied Jesus three times? It seems like that's what Jesus is setting up.

In fact, when Jesus finds him sleeping, do you remember the statement he made? The Spirit is willing, Peter, but the flesh is weak. Yes, you don't want to deny me, but your flesh is weak. What if the means by which God steals our spirit and strengthens our resolve is meeting with him and praying so that God gives us the ability to make wise decisions, the ability to bring harmony to our marriage, the ability to raise our kids? What if that was the means by which God did that and you just cut yourself off from it?

You see what I'm getting at? It is the way you overcome the weaknesses of your flesh. It is the way that you gain access to the wisdom and power of God. I'm not saying praying three times a day is the magic number. I'm just saying what if you bathed each day in prayer? What if you did what I do in the morning, which is one of the things I do is I pray through my calendar. I'm like, God, this and this and this are going to happen today and a bunch of stuff in the middle that I don't even know about yet.

I need your help in each of these. What if you laid hold of God's power and his promises daily in a time that you set aside for prayer? By the way, you need to set a time. Do not be one of these people who are like, oh, I just pray all throughout the day.

No, you do not. I'm not talking about when somebody cuts you off in traffic and you're like, oh, Jesus! That doesn't count. I'm not talking about praying before you have a meal. I'm talking about a time where you set aside, where you meet with God, where you gain his strength and his power. I'm trying to teach this discipline to my children already in a way that's appropriate for them. Ten minutes are on the breakfast table in the morning. The most important ten minutes I think we spend in the day. Ten minutes where I usually read to them from a kids' version of a devotional called Jesus Calling, which is verses that are written as if they're spoken first person from Jesus to us. We spend just a couple minutes talking about what they got in front of them. We pray for God's power and blessing to go over them throughout the day.

That is something that you have got to discipline to put into your life because it will be a game changer for you and your children. You understand why it is that we pray? It is because apart from Jesus we can do nothing of lasting significance.

Nothing. We cannot raise our families. We cannot build our careers. We cannot build our lives apart from him. I told you last week, I quote Psalm 127 one all the time to God when I'm praying for my family. Unless the Lord builds the house, those who labor, labor in vain. God, unless you are the one who builds my children, unless you establish my marriage, unless you build my church, my ministry, my life, I'm laboring in vain. How much have you labored in vain building a house that has no spiritual significance at all? I mean, many of you have labored hard.

You have labored hard to build your career and to build your family. You have worked ridiculously hard, but unless God builds the house and the way that you lay hold of the blessing and the power and the promise of God consistently throughout the Bible is by believing prayer. So our prayer should be characterized by discipline, number two. Our prayer should be characterized by defiance. Our prayer should be characterized by defiance. Now, defiance of what? Well, obviously, you think of Babylonian's laws that you shouldn't pray. Yes, you certainly should defy those.

But there's something more here. I want to press you just a little bit deeper on this because when Daniel prayed, he was defying not just the king's orders. He was defying a situation he didn't want to be in that he believed God wanted to change. Thankfully, the words of one of Daniel's prayers that he prayed three times a day is recorded for us in Daniel chapter nine. So if you have your Bible, flip over to Daniel nine.

Let me walk you through a couple. We're not going to do the whole thing. Here's one of the things that Daniel prayed three times a day. Watch this, verse 17. Now, therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy and for your own sake, your own sake, O Lord. Make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate, thinking here of Jerusalem several hundred miles away where the temple lies in ruins.

And he's like, God, this is about your name and about your plans. It lies desolate. Verse 18, O my God, incline your ear in here. Open your eyes and see our desolations in the city that is called by your name, for we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness.

Oh, no, because of your great mercy. O Lord, hear. O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention. O Lord, act.

Delay not for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name. Now, there is so much in that prayer. I see a spirit of repentance and humility because God's not going to hear you when you're acting in defiance of him. I see that he's grounding his prayer, not in his worthiness, but in God's mercy. Daniel, if it was ever anybody that could say, I'm worthy for you to hear my prayer, anybody else but Jesus, Daniel could have said it.

Hey, I'm worthy, but he doesn't ground his worthiness. He grounds it in God's mercy. When you approach God like, hey, God, you owe me this.

Hey, God, I've been good, so you should give me this. He's never going to hear that prayer. But when you say, God, your mercy is infinite, your compassion is never-ending, that's when you get God's attention. Probably most importantly, what I see, listen, is an awareness by Daniel of the promises of God in that prayer. What Daniel demands here when he says, hey, Jerusalem, desolate, and open your ears to hear is a near verbatim quote from Deuteronomy 30, where God promised that if his people got sent into exile, if they repented, humbled themselves, and prayed, that God would restore them back from exile to the land of Israel.

So you see what Daniel's doing? He's holding up the words of God to God. He's holding up the promises of God to God, and he says, God, you promised, it's your name. Your name's on the line.

This is not my idea. You said it, and I want you to do what you said you would do. Effective prayer begins when you perceive the gap between where a situation is and where God wants it to be. You're listening to Summit Life with Pastor JD Greer in a message titled Defiant Prayer from our teaching series called Press Through. Today, we'd like to get a very encouraging resource into your hands. It's a set of three guides that will help you to pray for three specific areas of your life, praying for your kids, for your parents, and for your community. There are 21 different areas and situations to focus on. And within each of those areas, we give you five different things to pray for.

You can use each book in a variety of ways. You can pray through a set of five things each day over the course of three weeks and then start again. Or you can take one of the prayer themes for the week and pray one point every day from Monday to Friday. Each prayer suggestion is based on a passage of the Bible.

So you can be confident as you use it that you are praying great prayers, prayers that God wants you to pray because they're based on His word. You can request this three book bundle when you give a one time gift today or when you make your first donation as a monthly gospel partner. Gospel partners commit to regular monthly giving, and in a real sense, they're the backbone of this ministry. If you've been growing through this program and diving deeper into the gospel with us, why not join the team that makes all of this happen? Give us a call at 866-335-5220.

Tomorrow is the last day to reserve your set of books. That number again is 866-335-5220, or you can give and request online at JDGrier.com. You can also write to us and request these resources. Our address is JD Greer Ministries, P.O.

Box 122-93, Durham, North Carolina, 277-09. And remember to ask for the five things to pray bundle. I'm Molly Bittovitch encouraging you to join us again tomorrow when we conclude this short study on prayer. Pastor JD answers the question, if God's in control and He already knows what we need, then why bother telling it? See you Wednesday on Summit Life with JD Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by JD Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-04 09:56:47 / 2023-03-04 10:07:45 / 11

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