Do you feel your prayers are being answered? Do you feel that when you pray something happens in the spiritual realm? Do you feel your prayers move mountains? There’s more to prayer than just praying in the car, at the store, or on the treadmill; there’s a prayer that can move mountains and transform nations. Lately, I’ve been asking myself if my prayers are being heard. I started studying Anne Graham Lotz’s book, The Daniel Prayer. In the book, she shares the story of when she was in Fiji giving a message about how the prophet Samuel was an excellent prophet, but a bad father because all of his children had strayed from the way of the Lord. When she made the altar call for parents to repent, she was impacted by the way they all began to cry in repentance. She thought to herself,”This is the type of prayer we need in the United States”.
There are many examples in the Bible about the power of prayer. Hannah, prophet Samuel’s mom, couldn’t have children for many years. But she said a prayer pouring out her heart to the Lord and obtained her miracle.
I remember when my mom got very sick; she was in the ICU, getting worse instead of better…it didn’t look like things would turn around. My dad began to pray and God gave him a vision where he saw my mom in God’s hands, as if He was taking her to Heaven. My dad continued to pray asking the Lord to not take her. He saw the Lord return her back to him and smile. My dad decided to take her out of the hospital, under his responsibility, and immediately my mom began to get better.
Who was Daniel?
Daniel was a young man who was taken to Babylon where he experienced many different things. He determined to not defile himself with the food of that kingdom and only have vegetables to eat and water to drink. Daniel was a prophet; God gave him visions and the ability to interpret the visions of the kings of his time. He was chosen to be part of the king’s service along with other young men, but purposed in his heart to be different and not defile himself with the food of the palace. During King Darius’ reign, a decree was given that for 30 days no one could pray to any other god or king or they would be thrown into the lion’s den. It’s incredible; anyone else could think it was just 30 days without prayer, but NOT DANIEL. Right then and there, he prayed with his windows wide open three times a day.
There are four things I see in Daniel’s prayer, based on chapter nine of the book of Daniel.
1. PRAY BASED ON SCRIPTURE
“In the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.” (Daniel 9:2 NKJV)
Daniel understood that the time of captivity for the people of God was coming to an end. He understood this through the prophet Jeremiah; God had promised that He would free them from Babylon. Daniel saw a light of hope, and instead of doing nothing he began to pray. Daniel was an amazing student of the Scriptures, it was in that time of Scripture study that he was able to understand Jeremiah’s prophecy.
Read the Bible with a burning desire to understand it
Read it with simple faith, like that of a child
Read it in a spirit of obedience and personal application
2. PRAYER AND FASTING
“Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.” (Daniel 9:3 NKJV)
Daniel knew that he was living a very critical time in his life and so was his nation. The first thing he did was fast and turn to God with all of his heart. Fasting is a physical act of obedience that releases blessing and miracles. When you fast, you’re saying,”Less of me and more of you God”. “But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face…¨ (Matthew 6:17 NKJV). Fasting is a Christian’s duty. Fasting is quite the sacrifice because it helps us defeat the Stomach King.
3. PRAY WITH WORSHIP
“And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession and said, ¨O Lord, great and awesome God, who Keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments…¨” (Daniel 9:4 NKJV)
Start praying by worshipping God, telling Him how good, great and merciful He is. That is how Daniel started praying, He didn’t start with, “Lord give me, help me, bless me¨. He started with gratitude and magnified God’s goodness.
4. PRAY WITH A REPENTED HEART
“We have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments.” (Daniel 9:5 NKJV)
Daniel didn’t pray “forgive them” but “forgive us”. Even though maybe he had not committed those sins, he prayed as if they were his own. True repentance happens when we feel a great pain for having failed God. We cry out for mercy over our city’s great wickedness.
“If my people, who are called by name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV)
“May our simple prayers be transformed to agonizing prayers.” (Charles Spurgeon)