Seeing God’s Love through His Power
and our Prayer
Daniel 10:1-3, 10-14
Got a car that would not start without a push.
Had kids start him off each day by giving him a push
Left car running or parked on a hill while he made rounds
Slide 1 Did this for 2 years
Due to an illness in their family, they had to leave
New missionary came
Jackson explained car procedure
New missionary looked under hood and found loose connection
Tightened it and car started right up without push.
Because Jackson did not know much about cars, he was unable to harness the full power of the starter on the car.
I think there are a lot of Christians that have a loose connection and we fail to see the love that God has poured out on us by making His power available to us through prayer.
We pray and there seems to be no effect from our prayers.
We wonder if God really hears us or if He really does control things.
Or if He really does love us?
This week I want to talk about how we can see God’s Love for us through His Power and our prayer.
I think part of the problem is a misunderstanding of what prayer involves.
Like the loose connection on the car, if we only understood more about how God has ordained prayer to work, we would have more effective prayer lives.
Today – looking at Daniel
Had powerful and effective prayer life
Want to draw out principles so we too can experience a powerful and effective prayer life
Daniel 10 begins
Daniel 10:1-3; 10-14 (page 634)
1 In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel (who was called Belteshazzar). Its message was true and it concerned a great war. The understanding of the message came to him in a vision.
2 At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. 3 I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.
Verses 4 – 9 talk about the vision Daniel sees and it’s affect on him. Continuing in verse 10, he says
10 A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. 11 He said, "Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you." And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling.
12 Then he continued, "Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. 14 Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come."
Daniel’s prayer had a powerful effect.
His prayer put into action angels from Heaven who engaged in spiritual battle.
What if God showed his love to us by making His power available to us? What if things could be affected by our prayers from the way they would otherwise be if we hadn’t prayed?
Just think of the things that could happen.
Think of the effective church we would have.
Think of the people who would be saved.
Think of the powerful witness we could be to this unsaved world if we only could pray like Daniel did and have God’s power made available to us?
Think of the close relationship with God we would have.
That Power is available to us. God has ordained that our prayers can influence His power. We can pray and unleash the power that God in His sovereignty has made available to us.
Now don’t misunderstand. God is not some Genie at our beck and call. But at the same time He has given us prayer as a way to affect things in His creation.
I want to see what we can learn from Daniel’s prayer so that we can see His love and experience a more effective prayer life.
The first thing I want us to see if we are going to have an effective prayer life is that
We Need to Want Wisdo
Daniel wanted wisdom
Verse 12 begins Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding…
Daniel wanted to know the things of God.
Many of us want the wisdom that comes from God, but
we don’t want to do anything to attain that wisdom.
We want God to just supernaturally impart it to us.
That is not how God has chosen to impart wisdom to us.
For us to pray powerfully, we need to be seeking the wisdom of God like Daniel did.
How did Daniel seek God’s wisdom?
It doesn’t tell us in these verses here but let’s go back one chapter to another prayer of Daniel’s. Chapter 9:2 it says
2 in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.
How is it that he understood these things?
He understood by the books, the Scripture of the prophet Jeremiah.
Daniel studied the Scriptures. He was a man of the Word.
We seek God’s Wisdom through God’s Word also
But for that to be effective we need to have a reverence for the Author of the Word who is God.
The phrase in the Bible for that is the “fear of the Lord.
So to gain God’s Wisdom through God’s Word we need to have a “fear of the Lord”
28 And he said to man, ’The fear of the Lord-that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.’"
10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
What about those who are not seeking wisdom or having a healthy fear of the Lord? Does the Bible say anything about them? Yes it sure does.
28 "Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me. 29 Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the LORD,
God didn’t hear because they did not want wisdom and did not have a respect for God.
Their prayers weren’t answered.
Are your prayers going unanswered?
Now just because you have a prayer that has not been answered yet, does not mean that you don’t have a healthy fear of the Lord and are not seeking wisdom. But this is still a question we should be asking of ourselves.
Are you truly seeking God’s wisdom?
Do you have a healthy fear of the Lord?
Or have you been content with the wisdom of man?
A powerful prayer life begins with us Wanting the Wisdom of the Lord and going after it through studying his Word with respect and reverence.
The next thing we need to do to have a powerful and effective prayer life is
We need to Humble our Hearts
Look at the next part of verse 12
"Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God…
Daniel Humbled His Heart before the Lord. We see in verse 3 that Daniel was fasting from certain things. He was in a state of mourning probably because of obstacles that were hindering the restoration of Israel back to their land.
He humbled himself in this way by acknowledging through his prayers and fasting that God is the one in control and Daniel wants his complete attention focused on God. He doesn’t want to be distracted by the things of the world.
This is not a one time thing though for Daniel. He did not just have instances of humility as some way to gain God’s favor.
He was a man of humility in life. We see this throughout the book of Daniel.
As we grow in our study of God’s Word and gain wisdom, we realize more and more how truly we lack the ability to do anything apart from God. John 15:5 says “without me you can do nothing.”
When we humbly bow before the Lord and acknowledge that we can do nothing without Him, that is when God will use us in mighty ways.
Throughout history, God’s power has been manifested in humble men.
Moses (Numbers 12:3 “more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth”)
David (a man after God’s own heart – Acts 13:22)
These men were used powerfully by God
What about us? Do we think we are something special before God?
Do we think God would have a hard time getting what He needs done without us?
We need to recognize that
Pride is sin and sin causes our prayers to be Powerless And Ineffective
Isaiah in speaking to sinful Israel says in
15 When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood;
But to the Humble God says this.
17 You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted (humble, NAS);
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
When we have pride or any other sin in our life, we need to humble ourselves before the Lord and confess those sins and turn from them.
If we want to experience the God’s power in our lives through our prayers, we must be living lives of humility.
Finally, if we want powerful and effective prayer lives
We Need to Pray Persistently.
Daniel prayed persistently.
While this text never specifically mentions his praying, we see from the response of the angel that he was.
Verse 12 again
12 Then he continued, "Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.
The angel came in response to his words, to his prayers.
How long was Daniel praying?
3 I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.
Fasting and prayer go hand in hand. You don’t fast without praying. Daniel was fasting and praying for 3 weeks.
So Daniel was praying for 3 weeks and from the first day Daniel’s words were heard, the angel was coming, yet he did not arrive with the answer to Daniel’s prayer for 3 weeks!
You think God would have a speedier delivery system than that. What’s up with that? Is God operating with the pony express in an age of e-mail. What was going on here?
Verse 13 tells us. The angel was being opposed during that time.
13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.
Drawing back the curtain
I believe that as we look at this passage in Daniel, God is drawing back the curtain a little and giving us a glimpse of what is going on in the spiritual realm. This insight, I believe is for an encouragement to us to continue in prayer even when we feel like giving up.
The text tells us that the angel was hindered in his coming by “the prince of the kingdom of Persia.” Who is that? It appears that these “Princes” are fallen angels that are seeking to thwart the activities of God and the answers to our prayers. In the angels coming with a response to Daniel there was a spiritual battle going on.
Now I have a question for you. What would have happened if Daniel stopped praying after a week. Or 2 weeks? Or 20 days? Would the angel have arrived? Would Michael have come to his assistance? Would the angel have been strong enough to overcome the resistance of these demons? The text here doesn’t tell us.
Here is what I DO know
God tells us that we are in a spiritual battle and the weapons we fight with have “divine power.”
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
We wage war with divine power. That is how God has ordained it.
Paul also tells us in Ephesians
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
We wage spiritual battle through our prayers. Angels fight against demons in spiritual battle.
Here is the question.
Are angels being empowered by our prayers to wage this warfare?
If we pray more, do we provide more power to angels to overcome Satan and his demons so that they can reach us with the answers to our prayers?
I believe so.
Why has God chosen to work this way?
Couldn’t God just speak and have our prayer answered?
Does He really need to use angels to answer our prayer?
Couldn’t He just wipe out all of the evil forces in the world if He had wanted to? He certainly could? Why doesn’t He?
Part of it is due to the fact that God is sovereign, that He is completely in control, and the way He does things are best, even if we do not completely understand why.
8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,"
declares the LORD.
9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
I think part of the answer also lies in that he wants us in constant fellowship with him and if our prayers are continually having effects we are more likely to continue to be praying which keeps us in close contact with God.
Our prayers result in all kinds of warfare in the spiritual realm. As we continue in prayer, praying persistently, we give more power to the angels in heaven to overcome the forces of darkness so the effects of our prayers become manifest in the earthly realm. It is our persistent prayer that brings these things to fruition.
The Parable of the Persistent Widow
1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: "In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ’Grant me justice against my adversary.’
4 "For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ’Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’"
Jesus is not saying keep nagging me about this. He is saying keep praying because the more you pray the more effect your prayers will have. That is the way I have designed it.
Pray persistently and power continues to support the spiritual battle that is going on.
When we are wanting wisdom and setting out to get it and humbling our hearts through reliance on God and confessing our sins so we can be cleansed by Him, then when we pray, He hears and immediately responds by sending angels with the answer to our prayers. What are angels but messengers of God.
That is not the end of it however. There are evil forces that are out to hinder our prayers from being answered. But as we continue to pray, as Daniel did, by praying persistently, the power that God has given us through prayer becomes realized in the spiritual and earthly realms.
There are times when we may not be seeing with our eyes the power of our prayers. In those cases I think we first need to ask ourselves some questions.
Have we been Wanting Wisdom?
Have we Humbled our Heart before the Lord by walking in his ways and seeking forgiveness for any sin in our life?
If we answer yes to these then there is only one thing left to do.
Pray persistently. We can be assured that if we have been wanting wisdom and gaining it and we have humbled our hearts before the Lord, our prayers are being heard.
There not only being heard, but God’s power is unleashed, power just like Daniel’s prayers. Power to
power to overcome the evil forces of the world,
power to accomplish the unaccomplishable in human terms.
God in His sovereignty and in His love has declared that our prayers can have power.
However we need to
Want Wisdom from the Lord
Humble our Hearts
This is how we can have a powerful and effective prayer life and this is one way that God is showing his great love for the pinnacle of His creation by giving us this ability to pray to Him.
If we are not doing these things, our prayers will be ineffective.
The power of God is available to you through your prayers.
We need to unleash this power and see our community, our church and our lives changed! Amen.
Let’s pray. Lord I prat that today we will seej your love in prayer, that we will earnestly pray and not just go through the motions but seek your face and will for our lives and those of our friends and love ones amen.