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Monthly Archives: June 2013

Prayer Is: Putting Your Hope in the Lord Himself

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Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18)

Daniel’s friends are forced to choose between bowing down to the King’s gods or worshiping the true God. Notice how they answer the King’s threat to throw them into the fire: they say that they know God has the power to rescue them, but even if He does not save them, they will still be faithful and worship Him alone.

Often when we pray we can easily trust in the answers to our prayers rather than trusting in the One we are praying to. We want to pray for specific outcomes in faith that Jesus is able to do anything. However, our trust needs to be in the Lord Himself so that we believe His will for us is good and we surrender the situation into His hands. Our faith needs to believe that He is King, He is with us, He is for us, and He holds us in love eternally — so whatever happens, we will trust Him and follow Him.

There was no “if” in Daniel and his friend’s faith. They were faithful and would put their whole trust in their God. In our hearts we so often pray “I will trust you if….” We need to ask the Holy Spirit to give us the kind of faith that does not depend on the outcomes or our circumstances, but simply prays “ I will hope in you, I will trust in you alone.”

The fire was not taken away, but God sent an angel to be with Daniel’s friends in it, and they were saved. And to you Jesus promises that even if you go through the fire, He will be with you. You are still His own.

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine….
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze. (Isaiah 43:1-2)

Prayer Is: Trusting the True and Mighty King

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During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven and said: “Praise be to the name of God forever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. (Daniel 2:19-22)

These words are what Daniel prayed when God answered his prayer to interpret the king’s dream. Daniel knew that God was bigger than the king. His life seemed to be under the King’s control, and he was threatened with death at the king’s command, but he praised God as the one who has all authority over this world.

Satan loves to echo what the world says us: What you see is all there is. God is not in control of your life. What controls you is your past, your weaknesses, your looks, your work, your health, your hormones, your money, your family, your busyness, your circumstances. When we pray, we stand against that lie and say, “Jesus is bigger than my circumstances. I belong to Him he has the authority in my life.”

Daniel lived in that perspective, and if we believe it for ourselves and others, it will draw us us to constant prayer.

In my experience, the only way I can keep that perspective is by reading His word and by worshipping and praying with other Christians. If we don’t attend to those things, we gradually lower our heads until all we can see is our history and our circumstances. Reading the truth, praising Him, and praying lift up our head to see God and His power and purposes in the world.

A children’s song I know says this: “Jesus is the mighty mighty King. Jesus is the mighty mighty King. God made Him the boss of everything. Jesus is the mighty mighty King.”

So prayer means believing my body and my health are not the boss, money is not the boss, my past is not the boss, my weakness is not the boss, my family  is not the boss, my circumstances are not the boss — because Jesus is the mighty mighty King over all.

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you live out that truth in prayer and  praise, trusting that Jesus is Lord of lords and King of kings.

Prayer Is: Making Your Home in the Lord

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Do you know that if you have trusted in Jesus, this world is not your home? Philippians 3:20 says your citizenship is in Heaven. If you are going to live the abundant life Jesus is offering, one of the most important things is to make Him your home. That is your identity in Christ. You are a temporary resident in this world, and your hope is secure in the risen Jesus who will lead you into eternity. When we pray, we are saying “My home is in You, Father. I am Your child, You are Lord over my life, and I will follow You into eternity.”

Daniel knew he was not at home. His home was in God’s Holy nation, but He was taken and forced to live in a new land, learn new spiritual practices, and even have his name changed to something that identified him with different gods. Yet Daniel did not forget that he belonged to God, and He took every opportunity to live out that identity in God’s presence in passionate prayer. So Daniel is a great picture for us of how to live as citizens of the Heavenly Kingdom while still living in this world.

The King had dream that none of his servants — all trained in the magic arts, divination, and astrology — could not fathom. The King threatened to kill them all, along with Daniel and his friends. God had given Daniel a gift or interpretation, but look at how he works it out:

Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. (Daniel 2:17-18)

Daniel goes to his friends and asks them to pray for God to show him the dream. Praying with others is a way that we live out who we really are as children of God, inheritors of eternity. Do you have friends who you can ask to pray with you in every need? Even with his great gift of interpretation, Daniel was humble and knew he needed to pray.

I encourage you to find friends, and even if you cannot see each other, call them and pray over the phone, text them, email or facebook them. Whatever it takes, keep praying.