Prayer That Is Answered Immediately
Daniel had seen with his own eyes the sacred golden vessels that had been used in temple worship of the living God used at a pagan feast for the pleasure of a spoiled, drunken Babylonian king.1 He knew the city of Jerusalem itself was nothing but ruins. And the temple had been a pile of rubble for forty-seven years. No tendril of smoke had lifted for forty-seven years because without the temple, there had been no more sacrifices.2
As he prayed the Daniel Prayer, he must have been gazing out of his upstairs window, visualizing the city he had once known. We know he remembered back to the temple and the smoke rising toward Heaven. We know from his prayer that his heart was filled with longing for the day when the temple would be rebuilt. The day when the sacrifices would be reinstituted. When the streets of Jerusalem would once again be filled with throngs of people going up to the House of the Lord with songs on their lips and joy in their hearts and a spotless lamb in tow. His heart was so full it must have almost exploded with the intensity of his desire for the nations of the world once again to acknowledge that Israel’s Jehovah is God, and stand in awe of Him.
These thoughts must have been on Daniel’s mind, because God answered in a very subtle yet symbolic way. Daniel clearly remembered, “While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the Lord my God for his holy hill — while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice” (Daniel 9:20-21, emphasis mine). That was an unmistakable message. God is not whimsi- cal nor does He act randomly. He is very purposeful not only in what He says but in the way He says it and how He says it and when He says it.
So . . . why did God’s answer to the Daniel Prayer come at the time of the evening sacrifice?
Think about it with me for a moment, because no one knows for sure. What we do know is that God answered Daniel’s prayer immediately, while he was still praying. And we know God answered Daniel’s prayer specifically, as we will see in the next chapter. Could it also be that God was focusing Daniel’s attention on the ultimate answer?
Because the Daniel Prayer is a cry for freedom. It’s a longing to go home. It’s a full-court press, an all-consuming passion to see God’s Name exalted, honored, respected, and revered as a result of His people being restored to the place of His blessing. Could it be that God was revealing a mystery? A secret? That the ultimate answer to all of the above would take place about five hundred years later? Around three o’clock in the afternoon, at the time of the evening sacrifice? On the Holy Hill of Calvary as the spotless Lamb of God was slain as a sacrifice for the sin of the world?
I want to be careful not to put words in God’s mouth, but is it possible, in essence, that God was conveying something like the following?
Daniel, I’ve heard and will answer your prayer. I will set your people free. They will go home. Jerusalem and the temple will be rebuilt. Sacrifices will take place once again. But beloved, highly esteemed Daniel, there is more. Much more. The city of Jerusalem and the temple there are just replicas. They are shadows of a Heavenly Home where one day I will dwell with My people forever.3 And the sacrifices are just audio-visual aids that point to My Lamb. Every time someone sacrifices in the temple, I have given them an invisible IOU note. Because the blood of lambs, bulls, and goats can never take away sin.4 So one day, I will send My own Son as the Lamb who will die for the sin of the world.5 His death will pay up in full all of those IOU notes. And forever after, anyone and everyone who places their faith in Him will be forgiven of their sin, cleansed of their guilt, and saved from My judgment. One day, Daniel, they will truly be free at last! Free once and for all from sin’s penalty and sin’s power. One day My Son will open the gates of Heaven and all those who trust in Him will live forever with Me in the New Jerusalem.6 One day they will all go Home! O Daniel, there is an ultimate answer to your prayer, and His Name is Jesus!
I am convinced that the ultimate answer to the Daniel Prayer today is still Jesus.
Because people are still being held captive. They are not held captive necessarily by the Babylonians or the Persians, although some surely are, but they are being held by the real enemy of our souls, the devil. People today are as enslaved by the devil as surely as the people in Daniel’s day were enslaved by the Babylonians. The devil has bound them in chains of sin and selfishness and lust and greed. The enslavement of men and women, old and young, of every nationality, language, and culture, is why I am compelled to pray that all people everywhere would be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.7
And make no mistake about it. The truth is Jesus.8 Jesus is the Liberator of our souls. He is the Terminator of our enemy. He is the Lamb of God who died to make atonement for our sin. But He is also the Lion of Judah who shouts a victory roar over anything and anyone, over everything and everyone, who would hold us in captivity. Jesus died to break our shackles of bondage to sin. He rose from the dead to open prison doors that we might enter into the real freedom of abundant, eternal life in His Name. He ascended to God’s right hand of authority and power where even now He is praying, not the Daniel Prayer, but His own High Priestly Prayer over us.9
At this moment, He is working to build the New Jerusalem for us as a Heavenly Home where we will dwell with Him forever.10 And one glorious day He will return to judge and rule the world. One day the nations of the world will become the Kingdom of our God and of His Christ! Hallelujah! “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,”11 and to His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory!”12
He is the Ultimate Answer. The Daniel Prayer moves Heaven and changes a nation as one person at a time fully embraces Jesus . . .
One person like the apostle Paul who testified, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners — of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.”13 Paul went on to turn the entire world of his day upside down as he proclaimed the Ultimate Answer through his testimony, through his preaching, as well as through his writing, which comprises much of the New Testament.14 In a little more than three hundred years after Paul, the Gospel had so permeated the known world that Christianity was adopted as the official religion of the Roman Empire. Paul had moved Heaven and changed the world.
One man like Azzam, a former pirate somewhere in Somalia today, who rides in coffins, under corpses, because he knows Somali Muslims will not open a casket or touch a dead body, much less look under it. So Azzam “safely” rides in caskets underneath corpses, traveling outside of Somalia where he then is given a load of Bibles in Kenya. He travels back into Somalia in a coffin, under a corpse, with the precious cargo of God’s Word that many people in his area are desperate to read. How could he have ever come to the decision to engage in such a mission?
Azzam had been born and raised a Muslim but had been having dreams of Jesus. He had sought out his Imam for answers, but the man had violently berated and beaten him. When his mother discovered he was having Jesus dreams, she commanded him to leave the home for his own protection and never come back. He did. He walked miles and miles, quite sure his father would be unable to find him.
But he was wrong. His father was a powerful warlord who located him quickly, and sent Azzam a package. When Azzam opened it, he was shocked and sickened to find his mother, cut up into small pieces. A photograph had been included inside the plastic bag. It was a picture of his mother kneeling in front of two men who had their knives raised over her. The day Azzam opened the “package” is the day he embraced the Ultimate Answer as he committed his life to Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.
This is where the story gets even more incredible. Because Azzam sought out the two men who had butchered his mother. He told them that he forgave them. He told them that Jesus loved them and that He could forgive murderers. The two men, Mahdi and Yasin, embraced the Ultimate Answer and claimed Jesus as their Savior. Then they confided to Azzam, “As we killed your mother, her last words were, ‘Jesus, Jesus, I love You.’”
Without a doubt, Heaven has been and is being moved by these radical followers of Jesus. And while Somalia has yet to be changed, it will be. One heart at a time.
Because the Ultimate Answer to the Daniel Prayer . . . the Ultimate Answer that moves Heaven and changes a nation is not politics . . .
Or education. Or a strong military.
Or nuclear weapons. Or religion.
Or a particular denomination. Or better organization.
Or capitalism. Or socialism.
Or radicalism. Or more jobs.
Or more money.
So don’t just pray the Daniel Prayer. Become part of the Ultimate Answer to it by embracing Jesus fully. Then give Him to someone else by sharing the Gospel. Heaven will be moved. Our nation and world will be changed. One person at a time. For the glory of His Name!
Excerpted with permission from The Daniel Prayer by Anne Graham Lotz, copyright Anne Graham Lotz.
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When we embrace Jesus fully, when we become a part of the Ultimate Answer, we can be Jesus’ hands and feet on Planet Earth to change the world! Come join the conversation on our blog. We want to hear from you about prayer! ~ Devotionals Daily
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The Daniel Prayer
Anne Graham Lotz
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