Monday, August 20, 2012

Daniel's Prayer: A Prayer for a Nation!

In the ninth chapter of Daniel, he prays for the nation of Israel. I cannot improve on his words except to say that this would be a great prayer to personalize and pray for our nation. It is a little lengthy, but worth the read. I will put a few brief notes at the end.

Daniel 9:3-19

I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. I prayer to the LORD my God and confessed:

     "O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings (President), our princes (Congress, etc), and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.
     Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame - the men of Judah and people of Jerusalem (Washington) and all Israel (America), both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. O LORD, we and our kings, our princes, and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against you . The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. All Israel has transgressed your law and dturned away, refusing to obey you.
     Therefore, the curses and sworn judgements written in the Law of Moses, the servand of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing upon us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem . Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us, yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. The LORD did not hesitate to bring the disaster upon us, for the LORD our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him.
     Now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we hae sinned, we have done wrong. O Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our fathers have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us.
     Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, O Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name."

1. Note Daniel's humility in the beginning. He places himself in an attitude of humility and mourning.
2. Daniel includes himself with all Israel. Even though, he led an exemplary life, he confesses his sin along with the rest of the nation. All of the pronouns are plural.
3. Israel was punished according to Deuteronomy 28. Even though we are no longer under the law, we can still experience the judgement of God if we do not turn back as a nation.
4. Daniel finished with intensity. Note the exclamation points. Listen! Forgive! Hear! Act! He is begging God with everything he has to act on behalf of his country.
5. In the verses following his prayer, we find that God answered his prayer AS SOON AS HE BEGAN TO PRAY because Daniel was highly esteemed. This message came from an angel of God. God highly esteemed Daniel! Oh, that we would live our lives in such a way that we would be esteemed of God!

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