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Standing Up and Kneeling Down for Others

May 1, 2017

“O Lord, Listen! O Lord, Forgive! O Lord, Hear and Act! For Your Sake, O My God…”. (Daniel 9:19)*

Eons ago, in the middle of a nation of pagan people, one man stood in the gap for his people. A people who had been captured and taken to a foreign land to serve masters and gods they did not know or worship. Daniel “understood from … the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet,” that this bondage of his people and the desolation of his nation was to last seventy years. That’s when he went to his knees.

“So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.” (Daniel 9:3)

When was the last time someone stood up for you, or acted on your behalf as an advocate? Does God find any of us pleading with him for the sake of others’ good? Do we seek him in prayer and with petitions? Fast on behalf of others? This is not just ancient ritual we’re talking about, or something reserved only for a few super-righteous heroes. This is the very heart of God wanting to engage each of us with him and the things that touch his heart.

As we celebrate national and global prayer this month, we can take note of Daniel’s prayer and the cry of his heart for his people, from Daniel chapter 9:

 “The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; … We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.”  (verses 9 and 18)

Let us not forget that God owes us nothing. Every grace and bestowment of goodness upon us is from his heart of “great mercy” alone. His love for us is profound and deep, and he longs for us to obey him out of that love.

Look closer at the key action words in Daniel's prayer in verse 19:

“Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”

Listen: God is always waiting to listen, but we need to be giving him something to listen to! Rather than moaning and complaining, let’s speak into his ear and cry out from our hearts with “prayers and petitions”.

Forgive:  We can remove all barriers between our hearts and God, and even on behalf of ‘our people’ we can confess our faults and seek his forgiveness – which is always readily available.

Hear:  God not only listens; he also hears our prayers. He goes beyond our words and thoughts and sees the underlying plea of compassion when we come to him on behalf of others.

Act:  God is always ready to act to demonstrate his love and power when we pray. Regardless of the timing and way that he chooses to do so, we are dependent on him to bring about the transformation and healing we seek.

For your sake:  Lest we forget, God has his own name to uphold. And he doesn’t depend on us alone to do it. But if we are the people who “bear his Name”, then for his name’s sake and for his glory may we seek his intervention.

In this time of concentrated prayer for our nations and world, let us not neglect to stand in the gap for our own. To be advocates for our families, cities and nations. But let us also cry out for the unnamed and unreached of the world – for all those who have not yet heard the good news. Together, let our voices and heartcries be lifted up to the God who hears, forgives, and acts – for his name’s sake.

 

*This is the scripture verse selected for the 2017 U.S. National Day of Prayer.

 

SUGGESTED LINKS:

30-day prayer guide download:  https://reachbeyond.org/pray

National Day of Prayer website:  http://www.nationaldayofprayer.org/ 

 


 

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