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March 12, 2021 3:00 am
All our prayers need to be built on this concept of confession, knowing we are worthy of nothing. Oh God, I don't deserve anything in the center of the rebel I just ask you to fulfill your purpose.
Fulfill your plan.
We are overwhelmingly aware of the fact that we don't do anything to earn answer and mercy parenting. The answer communication you have to know how to talk to those you love. Also different in your relationship with God to draw closer to him.
You need to know how to talk to him. So today, John's going to look at the prophet Daniel and his example of fervent and effective prayer. The title of John's lesson, a pattern of prayer from Amana prayer. Now here's John turning your Bible to the ninth chapter of Daniel. Daniel the Old Testament prophet chapter 9. Here is one of the richest portions in all of holy Scripture on the subject of prayer. It has few equals it doesn't teach by precept doesn't teach by theological truth or doctrine, but rather by practice or pattern or model or example here we see a man of God, praying, and we can take apart this prayer and look at all of its rich components and understanding what the prayer of the godly should contain, and this isn't just any man. By the time we find him here in our chapter. He's over 80 years of age and as we have read in the prior eight chapters the story of this man, we have found them to be a man, unlike other men, a man whose level of spiritual devotion is beyond most, if not nearly all one is love for God is unwavering. One whose excellence and devotion and duty is stalwart. He really is a standard for us. He is bold he is uncompromising. He is faithful. He is selfless he is humble he is loyal he is so devout and so committed to communing with God's life is so built on prayer that he would rather be thrown into a den of lions and eaten alive then alter his prayer life.
Certainly he's the one.
If if not our Lord himself. He is the one to teach us how to pray. And here we have a model prayer of Daniel. The ninth chapter of Daniel is for many Bible students a very familiar chapter but sad to say, in one sense, people are most familiar with the back And at the front half that we are familiar with the answer to Daniel's prayer that brings us the prophecy of the 70 weeks which starts in verse 24 was God's answer to this model prayer as we come to the ninth chapter.
Daniel is in great distress. If you notice the end of chapter 8 and verse 27 you will see. He says I Daniel was exhausted and sick for days. Sometimes what's going on in our lives in terms of ministry can be so overwhelming as to make us physically sick. Daniel was suffering from what he was hearing from God.
He knew that the children of Israel were under current judgment.
That's why they were in captivity. That's why he was there. He knew Jerusalem was destroyed the Temple was destroyed.
The sanctuary was desolate.
He knew all that knew this was a judgment for sin and he knew that there was more judgment coming in the future against the people of Israel because he had a vision of that but he also knew that there was a coming kingdom. He had a vision of that. So as much as was revealed much more was not and he was feeling the stress of not fully understanding that, and also knowing that all was not well with Israel, and there was to be more judgment in the future. He is stunned and astounded at the visions and left without a full explanation, there's a big burden in his heart and that burden is over his people and it is that burden that he discharges before the throne of God in this ninth chapter 1 day at this time he is reading these reading scrolls biblical scrolls. Verse two it says see I Daniel observed in the books so the scrolls, the number of the years, which was revealed as the word of the Lord Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolation of Jerusalem, namely 70 year he's reading Jeremiah, who by the way he calls a source for the word of the Lord. He had a right view of biblical inspiration and as these reading in Jeremiah, he is reading in chapter 25 they didn't have chapters and verses in the Jeremiah scrolls in those days, but for us, this would be where he found this Jeremiah 25 11th. Here is the prophecy from Jeremiah of what was going to happen and it did happen and Daniel had lived it. He had been taken into captivity in the in the earliest of captivity's and he's been there the whole time. So in the Jeremiah 2511 this whole land rights. Jeremiah shall be a desolation speaking of Israel and a horror, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon for these peoples shall serve the king of Babylon, 70 years, then it will be 170 years are completed I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, declares the Lord for their iniquity in the land of the Chaldeans, and I will make it an everlasting desolation. God says 70 years. I'm gonna let the Babylonians hold Israel in captivity and then I'm going to punish that Babylonian empire with an everlasting desolation will Daniel had seen it. The Babylonian empire was over the 70 years had come. He also in reading in the text of of Jeremiah came across another portion of Scripture and the 29th chapter of Jeremiah, which added another feature to it in verse 10, thus says the Lord.
When 70 years have been completed for Babylon. I will visit you and fulfill my good word to you to bring you back to this place for I know the plans that I have for you declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. And you will call on me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you and you will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart and I will be found by you, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from the nations, and so so he knew that at the end of the 70 years there would be the destruction of Babylon, which it happened and there would also be the restoration of the people of God. That's what he was reading in the books. 70 years, for all intents and purposes was up. He knows what's been promised to happen. Babylon will be destroyed. It was the people will be restored to the land that hadn't happened yet.
But that was what God promised that teaches us the first characteristic of prayer one. Prayer is in response or in harmony with the word of God. True prayer is in response or in harmony or in agreement with the word of God.
Daniel takes up intercession for his people based on what he knows is God's will. This is an essential element of prayer you say. Well if he knew this is going to happen because Jeremiah said it was going to happen and if he knew that he said it was going to happen after 70 years in the 70 years was up, then what is there to pray for.
That's a fair question to ask. It's not a simplistic question to answer other than to say this, God will do what he does when he says he will do it. God is faithful to his promise. God always keeps his word, never deviates from his word is absolutely sovereign always accomplishes his purpose.
It can never be thwarted.
He did say after 70 years Babylon will be destroyed. They were after 70 years bring the people back. They were brought back and you asked the question why are we to pray and the answer is because all prayer is to be in accord with in agreement with in harmony with and in response to God's word I learned to the years that my best prayer times are with an open Bible I give you an illustration of that on Sunday mornings. I did it this morning. I do that every week I read a portion of Scripture and then I sort of pray my way back through that because I'm just lining up with the purposes of God, lining up with the word of God lining up with what God has revealed you have a difficulty, praying because you're sort of done in a few minutes you can think what to say.
Just try praying through a text of Scripture identifying with what God is revealing their and when you need to confess confessing.
We need to praise, praise, and we need to thank him. Thank him. The word really teaches us how to pray because it reveals God's agenda and God's character so Daniel's prayer first of all, like all prayer should be borne out of the study and understanding of God's revealed plan and character in Scripture. Secondly, we pray not only generated by God's word but grounded in God's will. He knew God's will. 70 years verse two he knew the whole thing. The desolation's of Jerusalem was to be completed in 70 years, and that is because that's what Jeremiah had said that you might say, will that, of all things makes it unnecessary to pray why in the world is going to pray for restoration if he knows it's going to come in again, it begs the same issue that God is not only chosen what he will do with the means by which you will do it. And those people who are most attached to God, who most love God, who most embrace his glory will find themselves drawn into prayer that relates to his purposes.
This is not fatalism.
Fatalism is deadly to prayer and it demonstrates that you do not know the heart of God and that you do not participate in his purposes with all your soul once you know the will of God. You know how to pray because your prayers.
God uses as means to the end of his purpose, whatever you ask. According to his will, he hears whatever you ask.
According to his will, he hears so says John 1413 and 14. First John 514 and 15.
We can't live in some in a gray acceptance.
We can't live in sin and a bland neutral posture saying LOL God's going to do what is going to do and what's my prayer going to have to do with anything that is a mark of spiritual immaturity and carnality.
Prayer according to the will of God's affirmation is acquiescence is celebration of the divine purpose. Daniel would not accept the way things were. He wanted the fulfillment that God had promised. So that's how he prayed. Daniel prayed because it was generated by the word of God, and it was grounded in the will of God is another element. It was characterized by fervency, you could say okay I except it's the word of God accepts the will of God. But in a sort of just accepted.
Okay, God, do what you going to do my ferment's great plan carried out. I vote for you. God I hope you do that that is the way we see Daniel pray verse three I gave my attention to the Lord God, to seek him by prayer and supplication's with fasting sackcloth and ashes and we already know that Daniel was persistent in his prayers was very persistent prayed that intervals every single day. So life but were talking here about fervency in prayer. He says in note in verse three I gave my attention.
The NAS that that the Hebrew actually says I set my face.
I fix my gaze. I pointed my face in the direction of God. This is an undistracted kind of preoccupation.
This is resoluteness unto the Lord God, the Lord God Lord Adonai unto the Lord, though, though I don't I means master sovereign ruler. Yes, I understand the sovereignty of God. Yes, I understand divine authority fully. Yes, I understand that I am to submit to the sovereignty of God. He is my sovereign, my master, my Lord but I set my face to the sovereign one to plead with him in prayer and supplication to the degree of fasting wearing sackcloth and pouring ashes on my head. All this was what ways in which to manifest, passion, brokenness, contrition, humility, meekness, cry for mercy. He set his face toward the sovereign and to seek the sovereign was such fervency that he didn't eat. He was like Hannah in first Samuel 18. Hannah was weeping and fasting pleading for her son Daniel employs in every indication of fervency. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man. James 516. This is him Christ in the garden is praying so fervently what you pray saves praying to the father and saying to the father. This cup may pass from me.
Father, please let it be so.
Nevertheless, not my will but yours be done. He knew with the will of the father was. He was the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world. He knew the plan from beginning to end. That didn't change the fervency of his prayer, he accepted God's answer but in the prayer sweat blood as he was praying with such fervency that the capillaries exploded. Jesus never resigned himself to anything and he knew the will of the father perfectly and neither does Daniel. And he knew the will of the father. It's just that when you're when you're really caught up in the agenda of God. There's a fervency in your life and it's a commentary on our kind of Christianity to look at our indifference toward the issues that concern the heart of God. So true prayer is generated by the word of God, grounded in the will of God, characterized by fervency and let me give you 1/4 one this is getting to the heart of it is identified with God's people. That's why in Daniel's prayer you just notice the pronouns. Verse five we have sinned. Verse six we have not listen to your servants spoken your name to our kings, our princes, our fathers were seven to us belongs open shame. Verse eight open shame belongs to us. Verse nine we have rebelled. Verse 10 we did not obey the voice of the Lord our God. Verse 11 all Israel has transgressed into verse 11.
We have sinned against him.
Verse 13 we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God, returning from our iniquity, giving attention to thy truth just we we verse 14. At the end would not obey his voice. Verse 15 we have said we been wicked. Daniel was coming before the Lord for his people. He regards even the sins of his people, the sins of his priests and the sins of his rulers and judges and kings as if they were his own. He cannot divorce himself from his people because he knows he's part of the problem. I can't prayer prayer. Straighten your church out Lord straight not your church with God saying straighten out me in the process. I can't say Lord bring the truth to your people Lord make your people love the truth without saying to the Lord, and wherever there is error in my life corrected I can say make your people godly and not saying make me godly to Daniel understood, as did all the Jews the solidarity of the people of God. I don't know if we fully understand the solitary the people of God today in our church and in the body of Christ, we all suffer together. I'm telling you we all suffer together. You know that sometimes your Christianity is discredited because of the Christianity that some your friend see on television that has nothing to do with you or worse, perhaps sometimes your Christianity is discredited because somebody has had personal contact with a so-called Christian who brought such reproach on the person of Jesus Christ that that has caused them to reject you prayer that is generated by the word of God.
It's grounded in the will of God's characterized by fervency. It's identify with God's people and intercession is built on confession. It's built on confession.
I want you to catch this. He wants God to do his work.
He wants God to restore Israel Daniel Dennison God said he would. He wants to see Jerusalem rebuild the Temple rebuilt the sanctuary restored God's presence to come back.
That's what he wants but before he ever even gets close to that. Look at this prayer. Verse five we have sinned, committed iniquity acted wickedly and rebelled even turning aside from thy commandments and ordinances. Boy that's seeing it everywhere. You could say it. We send wicked and committed iniquity. We acted wickedly, we rebelled and we turned aside five ways to say it, and he says where sinful. This is an awful lot of confession here, you'd say just have to keep saying and saying and saying it saying it and saying it every way possible that his nakedness is not subject to technical approach to prayer. This is what is in the man's heart. And this is very personal yet even though it's we we we go to verse 20.
Now, while I was speaking in praying and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel. Your prayer has to be predicated on an understanding of your unworthiness so that we always know when we pray, I have no right to ask. I have no right to enter your presence there is nothing in me that makes me worthy to hear and answer. And to be blessed because I'm just a sinner. All our prayers need to be built on this concept of confession, knowing we are worthy of nothing.
Oh God, I don't deserve anything.
I'm a sinner I'm a rebel. I just ask you to fulfill your purpose. Fulfill your plan to what you promised to do restore your people. I'm interceding on their behalf. We pray for the salvation of sinners. We pray for the. The sanctification of the saints. We pray that the truth may prevail in the church.
We pray that the church may be purified. We pray for all the needs of people around us, but we are overwhelmingly aware of the fact that we don't do anything to earn an answer. It's all mercy. It's all grace and another thing that's important about prayer in our getting to the heart of it. Prayer is generated by God's word grounded in God's will characterized by fervency. It is identified with God's people. It is built on confession and here's a critical key. It is dependent on God's character is dependent on God's character say what in the world would make me think I had a right to go to this god go back to verse four, I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed, and this is what I said alas, oh Lord, alas, oh Lord, the great and awesome God.
That might keep us away. That's transcendence. But the God who keeps his covenant and loving kindness for those who love him and keep his commitments. That's immanence. God is both transcendent and immanent and down in verse seven he says righteousness belongs to deal Lord our God is great awesome and righteous or holy down in verse nine. However, he says to our God blown compassion and forgiveness. Yes, he's great. Yes he's awesome yes he's holy but he's also a faithful God who keeps his promise a God of loving kindness, a God of compassion and the God of forgiveness. One final element and we end the purpose of prayer is God's glory. We could say it consummates in God's glory.
Verse 16. Here's the ending bowl, Lord, in accordance with all your righteous acts let now your anger and wrath turn away from your city, Jerusalem, your holy mountain, for because of our sins and iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem, and I people to become a reproach to all those around us. He saying Ghana's enough turn away wrath turn away your anger, and so now our God.
Verse 17 listen to the prayer of thy servant, and was supplication in here comes and for thy sake all Lord, let thy face shine on thy desolate sanctuary. The point he says is God were not asking for our sake were asking for your sake, the glory of God is the consummation of all prayer verse 18 oh my God. Incline your ear, and hear open your eyes and see our distillations in the city which is called by thy name. We are not presenting our supplications before the on account of any merits of our own.
We dealt with that. In the confession section, but on account of thy great compassion here comes.
Oh Lord, here all Lord forgive all Lord listen all Lord take action because we deserve it. No good for your own sake. Oh my God, don't delay your city and your people are called by your name, your reputation is stick.
Pray for the church in sale God, purify your church, it bears your name here is the true man of prayer is one consuming passion and that is the glory of God. That's John MacArthur helping you understand the how to use a prayer.
John's message today on grace to you is titled a pattern of prayer from a man of prayer.
Now, even though the Bible gives us examples of how to pray like Daniel and even though Scripture promises us that when we pray, God listens and answers. It's not easy to pray as we should. You see that here in the disciples question. When asked Jesus teach us to pray and in our own experience, I found that no matter who I talked to veteran Christians, new Christians alike. One of the most common failures that pre-much every Christian will confess to is were not doing very well in our prayer lives.
So why is that John and can you give us some help yeah and I think it's what we've been talking about why you even if I followed what Jesus taught.
Why do I need to say to God, hallowed be your name, what, what is that due your kingdom come, your will be done why my saying that his name will be hallowed his will is being done, and his kingdom is coming and Jesus said, I'll build my church and the gates of Hades will prevail against it, and then to say to him, forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And forgive us our trespasses, what we know is going to do that lead us not into temptation what we know is not to lead us into temptation, deliver us from evil we know is going to do that so what you have to understand about prayer is the same thing you have to understand about salvation is a work of God but it incorporates means you can say somebody well look a you know you I hope you're Christian. And if God wants to save you will save you.
Don't worry about it, but were not told to do that were told to preach the gospel to every creature were told to call them to faith. Jesus said, you will die in your sins because you believe not on me, whosoever believes is saved. So God saves by his sovereign will.
But not apart from means and the means is repentance and faith prompted by the spirit of God, and I think God operates in his kingdom the same way, not apart from means and our prayers are part of that means, but secondly, it also blinds us up with his will. Praying about something and then seeing God answer opens up new avenues of praise if if I don't pray about it and I don't know about it. God does that. I don't know you did it, but if I'm involved in praying and in God hears and answers in a very obvious way. Then I can glorify God for what I've seen so I think we have to look at prayer like we do anything where the believer does something that God uses as a means to affect his work. So God will do what he will do, he will build his kingdom. He will hallow his name, but our prayers fit into God doing that very thing that I want to mention quickly the book, Lord, teach me to pray a whole lot about prayer in this book packed with biblical truth and it's Jesus teaching you how to pray.
You can get the copy from Grace to you today. Yes, this book is a great review of the fundamentals of how to pray shows you why to pray how to pray and what to pray for to order your copy of Lord, teach me to pray.
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