Growing up Christian, I learned the same stories over and over. The Red Sea and the escape from Egypt, the Garden of Eden, Jesus walking on the water, and Daniel in the lions’ den were just a few. I heard the stories so much that I thought I knew all about it. What I missed was the adult version of the story.
Most of my adult Bible studies focused on Jesus’ words, the epistles, and specific topics. During the past year, I found myself drawn back to the stuff I thought I already knew. I steeped my studies in Job, Joseph, Jacob, Issac, Nehemiah, and Proverbs.
Right now I am reading Max Lucado’s book Facing your Giants, and the book of Daniel. Facing your Giants delves into the life of King David. The Book of Daniel goes far beyond deliverance from the fiery furnace and the Lion’s Den.
This week I found Daniel’s prayer for his people, the chosen ones of God, in chapter nine. The iniquity of God’s people weighs on his heart. I wept not only for the Daniel’s yearning to reconnect himself and his people with God. I also wept for my family, Country, Church and peoples of the earth. We too have followed the path of iniquity the chosen ones followed in Daniel’s time:
3 I turned to the Lord God, to seek help, in prayer and petition, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. 4 I prayed to the Lord, my God, and confessed, “Ah, Lord, great and awesome God, you who keep your covenant and show mercy toward those who love you and keep your commandments and your precepts! 5 We have sinned, been wicked and done evil; we have rebelled and turned from your commandments and your laws. 6 We have not obeyed your servants, the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, our ancestors, and all the people of the land. 7 Justice, O Lord, is on your side; we are shamefaced even to this day: the men of Judah, the residents of Jerusalem, and all Israel, near and far, in all the lands to which you have scattered them because of their treachery toward you. 8 O Lord, we are ashamed, like our kings, our princes, and our ancestors, for having sinned against you. 9 But to the Lord, our God, belong compassion and forgiveness, though we rebelled against him 10 and did not hear the voice of the Lord, our God, by walking in his laws given through his servants the prophets. 11 The curse and the oath written in the law of Moses, the servant of God, were poured out over us for our sins, because all Israel transgressed your law and turned aside, refusing to hear your voice. 12 He fulfilled the words he spoke against us and against those who ruled us, by bringing upon us an evil—no evil so great has happened under heaven as happened in Jerusalem. 13 As it is written in the law of Moses, this evil has come upon us. We did not appease the Lord, our God, by turning back from our wickedness and acting according to your truth, 14 so the Lord kept watch over the evil and brought it upon us. The Lord, our God, is just in all that he has done: we did not listen to his voice.
15 “Now, Lord, our God, who led your people out of the land of Egypt with a strong hand, and made a name for yourself even to this day, we have sinned, we are guilty. 16 Lord, in keeping with all your just deeds, let your anger and your wrath be turned away from your city Jerusalem, your holy mountain. On account of our sins and the crimes of our ancestors, Jerusalem and your people have become the reproach of all our neighbors. 17 Now, our God, hear the prayer and petition of your servant; and for your own sake, Lord, let your face shine upon your desolate sanctuary. 18 Give ear, my God, and listen; open your eyes and look upon our desolate city upon which your name is invoked. When we present our petition before you, we rely not on our just deeds, but on your great mercy. 19 Lord, hear! Lord, pardon! Lord, be attentive and act without delay, for your own sake, my God, because your name is invoked upon your city and your people!
[Daniel 9:3-19 New American Bible Revised Edition]
I feel Daniel’s yearning. He desires reconciliation with God. When I read this passage I felt the yearning of my Father for us. He wants reconciliation with us. When Daniel prayed in Babylon, God wanted His chosen people back. God still wants His people back. Today, He calls us to turn from our sins to His Love.
This is why I write to believers. I feel God’s need for His people. In Matthew 23:37 Jesus cried:
37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her young under her wings, but you were unwilling!”
The sorrow rings through the Son of Man’s words. He wants His People back! My heart groans for those who learned, believed, and walked away. My heart bleeds for believers that stay the course and are so weary from the weight of the sins within the church that their faith falters. It is time to return home. God waits for you. Like any father, He cannot wait forever. Our time is limited.
Reading Daniel’s prayer gave me hope. I can learn to pray like Daniel, not only for unbelievers but also, for the people of God lost in this world. This is not about my preferences or how I worship.
It is about each of us nurturing a personal relationship with God, Father, Jehovah, the King of kings, the Prince of Peace, Yeshua, Messiah, I Am… Remember, it is important when the world has tilted and men try to grab the power, that we, His people, stay grounded in the one True God.
Our Father, please forgive us of our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Forgive our Country’s sins as we forgive the sins of those that sin against our country. Help us be faithful like Daniel and to cling to you while we stand against the world. Even if we must stand against leaders and sin. Give us strength to stand for what is true and holy in your sight. Help us stay the course, even during the tough times. Hear our pleas as we pray like Daniel and as your Son taught us to pray, with awe, repentance, forgiveness and trust in our hearts. In Jesus’ name amen. In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit amen.
Peace, my friends,
P.S. As you may have gathered, August and September were difficult months my family and me. Praise be to God, I am recovering from the emotional trauma and chronic pain flare-ups. At this time, I cannot promise to return to weekly posts. It will depend on time constraints and God’s leading. I pray that soon I will establish new routines and regular writing schedules.
I have some good news, November brings the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) marathon. I’m excited because, I have an idea for a Novella based on a principal character in the book I am editing. I’m not sure I can write a novella! The books I have drafted so far, I have not gotten under 75,000 words. 😀 Let’s see if I can meet the challenge and draft a novella as close to 50,000 words as possible. Thank you to all my readers for staying with me as I grow into the writing world and God’s plan for my life.
Be Blessed in God’s Love, Milly