THE POWER OF PRAYER TO FORTIFY AN INDIVIDUAL AND CHANGE THE FATE OF A NATION

Daniel was a man of power and influence during the reign of King Darius.  The King had 120 princes and 3 presidents who ruled over these 120 princes.  What was Daniel’s role?  He was the FIRST of the three presidents.  The only man more powerful in all of the kingdom was the king himself.

The other presidents and princes conspired against Daniel to get rid of him, but “they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him” (Daniel 6:4).  They came up with a clever idea – since they couldn’t find anything wrong that he was doing, they would simply find something right that he was doing and get him in trouble for it!

It is interesting to me that, out of all the myriad of things they could have chosen, they chose prayer.  These men KNEW that Daniel would be willing to die for the privilege to pray.  How did they know that?  What must Daniel’s prayers have been like?  How did he pray?  What did he say?  How long and how often did he pray?

These wicked men convinced King Darius to sign a decree that no man could ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days except the king or they would be cast into a den of lions.  How does Daniel respond to this decree?  “Now when Daniel KNEW that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime”  (Daniel 6:10).  Daniel prays!  He could have simply waited 30 days to pray, but he didn’t.  He couldn’t go for 30 days without prayer and these wicked men knew he couldn’t.  I’m sure Daniel wouldn’t have been able to go without prayer for 20 days or 10 days or even one day.  If that decree had only been in effect for ONE day, Daniel would have still ended up in that lions’ den.  For Daniel, life wasn’t worth living if he couldn’t pray.

Daniel wasn’t a 90% Saint. He didn’t just keep the commandments when it was convenient for him.  He didn’t care what people thought. He didn’t stop keeping the commandments to please his boss (the king), his co-workers, his friends, or anybody else. He only cared about what God thought of Him.

When Daniel was thrown in the lions’ den, King Darius fasted all night and RAN to the lions’ den at first light crying, “O Daniel…is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?”  Daniel told him of his miraculous protection and the King rejoiced.

I have often wondered what would have happened had Daniel chosen to simply pray silently for 30 days.  What if he had just closed his windows and prayed in his closet?  That way he could have still kept the commandment of God to pray while avoiding the lions’ den entirely.  But Daniel was a man of integrity.  The decree was a wicked decree.  It specifically forbade anyone from praying to God.  Daniel wasn’t going to stay silent and let evil win.  He refused to sit around and just wait until a wicked law was changed.  Instead of privately protesting the law, he actively, publicly fought against evil.  He let EVERYONE know he was not going to comply with this wicked law.  Because Daniel boldly made a stand, his righteous example led the King to believe in the true God of heaven.  Darius sent out a decree that the entire nation was to worship Daniel’s God.  Daniel’s religion became the new state religion!  His standing up for what was right not only wrought miracles for him, but for the King, and opened up the way for the entire kingdom to be converted to the true and living God.  If Daniel had been too scared to stand up for what was right, King Darius may never have been converted.

Daniel’s need to communicate with his Father in Heaven was as strong as his need to breathe.  Daniel knew he could never have real joy and peace in his heart if he turned his back on what he knew to be true and refused to make his convictions known. And so, in spite of worldly pressures and trying circumstances, he chose to stand up for what was right.

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World’s Worst Battle Plan

This is a true story of going from zero to hero.  Gideon viewed himself as a nobody (he states “my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house [Judges 6:15]), but an angel of God calls him to save Israel from the Midianites.  I love how THE first thing the angel said to Gideon was, “The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valor.” The angel could have said, “Well, Gideon, you’re not worth much now, but you could be if you listen to me.” The Lord knew Gideon was a hero. He knew Gideon was capable of performing miracles. The Lord needed Gideon to know that Gideon could perform miracles. This is Gideon’s story of learning how important he is to the Lord, learning how much the Lord loves him, and learning he could accomplish things he never dreamed he could do.

Gideon amasses an army of 32,000 men, but the Lord reduces it to only 300.  Gideon’s men must have been thinking, “Gideon had better have the world’s best battle plan and some high tech weapons!”  But Gideon simply hands them a pitcher, a lamp, and a trumpet.  It’s amazing the next verse doesn’t read, “And behold, 298 men returned home confused and disheartened.”  These men did not go into battle with weapons.  They went into battle with their testimonies that Gideon was a prophet and that God was leading them.  The weapons are symbolic of the weapons we need to bring into battle against the evil influences of the world.  We are the clay pitcher and God is the potter.  He can mold us into the child of God that we are meant to become.  We need to radiate the Lord’s light and use our voice (our trumpets) to declare our convictions to the world.

Gideon’s army defeated the Midianites by surrounding them at night, breaking the pitchers, blowing the trumpets, waving the lamps and shouting, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon.”  The Midianites, who had been sleeping in the valley, awoke and must have thought a huge army was upon them!  In their confusion, they end up fighting each other and then fleeing.

The Lord did not pick a war hero to lead His army.  He didn’t need a warrior.  He just needed someone who would obey him and Gideon was probably THE only person on the planet that would take pitchers, lamps, and trumpets into battle. The Lord knew that Gideon would obey him. The Lord knew that Gideon was a mighty man of valor. Gideon needed to know that Gideon was a mighty man of valor.  Gideon learned that the Lord can make a lot more out of us than we can make of ourselves.  If He calls us to do something, He will give us the ability to accomplish what He has asked.  We don’t have to be the most talented men and women on earth to do His work.  God can teach us what we need to know.  ALL we need is to humbly obey and trust Him.