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The Prayer that pleases God

Staying Faithful in a faithless world  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Daniel places the focus on God, not prophecy

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Prayer that is pleasing to God is shaped by the Word of God ()

Explanation: The setting of Ch. 9 is in the first year of the Medo-Persian Empire (539 B.C.) The events of Chapter 9 come after chapter 5, but before Chapter 6. Daniel is reading the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent to the exiles. Jeremiah’s letter was written in 597 B.C., approximately 58 years prior to this.
B.N. It is important to realize that Daniel considers Jeremiah’s letter to the exiles to be the Word of the LORD. Scripture is given its authority by God, and it is recognized as such by the people of God.
In his reading, Daniel realizes the time of the seventy year captivity to be nearing the end. At least 66, maybe 67 of the 70 years have elapsed, and the end is in sight. Daniel’s response to this understanding of the Word is to enter into prayer.
Argument: Most of us would be making plans and starting to pack up our stuff. Daniel goes to his prayer closet and enters into earnest prayer. Understand that he is not seeking God’s will - that has already been clearly revealed. His prayer is not focused on an attempt to shorten the time line of the return; instead Daniel prays for his and the people’s hearts to be ready for God’s plan
Application: Allow the Word of God to shape your personal prayer life. Read the Psalms and encounter the majesty and holiness of God and pray in response. Read the promises of Jesus and pray for God to keep you close and clean

The Prayer that pleases God is honest and passionate ()

Explanation: Daniel is extremely focused when he enters into his place of prayer, and he is prepared to meet with God. He turned his face to the LORD (v. 3); he was seeking his God (v. 3); he had been fasting (v. 3) for spiritual clarity; and he was wearing sackcloth & ashes (v.3) for personal chastisement. Daniel is not stopping by his prayer closet on the way to something else; he has prepared to encounter his God in a meaningful manner
Illustrate: Some of us treat prayer like we do the drive through at Bo Jangles. We are getting a biscuit on our way to our real destination.
Daniel includes himself with the sin and disobedience of the people. Daniel, while not named as a sinner, understood his own nature and confesses along with his people - no excuses. Note the language in vv. 5&6:
Note the language he uses in vv. 5&6:
We have sinned, we have done wrong
We have acted wickedly and rebelled
We have acted wickedly and rebelled
We have turned aside from your commandments
We have not listened to your prophets
Illustrate: any current celebrity or politician caught in wrong-doing. The “apology” is given in terms of moral evasion, extenuating circumstances, and is generally weak on personal sin.
Argument: Not one of us is without sin. Not one of us is beyond further sin. In Christ, we are forgiven and our sins are covered (), and that is cause for rejoicing. We should still have a realistic view of our old nature and should never consider ourselves morally superior to others. Daniel identified with the people and confessed where they had failed God. He agreed with God that they were sinful and disobedient, and had not listened to God.
“Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” ()
Application: Be honest with God. He already knows! Agree with Him in confession and practice repentance where necessary

The Prayer that pleases God is focused on Him receiving the glory (, , , )

Explanation: Daniel is asking God to act in favor of the Israelites, in spite of their sinfulness. He knows that God is going to bring the captivity to an end because He promised to do so, but Daniel is asking God to intervene so that God is the One who gets the credit and the glory. Daniel focuses on the Righteousness of God which is contrasted with the sinfulness of the people. He is asking God to work for the Glory of His own Name because the people have brought shame and dishonor to their covenant God. Daniel is praying on the basis of God’s great mercy.
Argument: We have no personal merit of our own when we come to the throne of God. It is true that we are told to “come boldly unto the throne of grace … in our time of need.” (), but we have that privilege only because of what Jesus has done (). Our sole basis for being able to ask anything is because of, and for the greatness of God. Selfish, man-centered prayers don’t get answered in the positive. The requests that seek to bring glory and honor to God are the ones that He delights to answer.
Application: As we spend time with the LORD in prayer, let us remember that it really is all about Him. Ask God to help us always see Him high and lifted up, and worthy of our praise. And in our asking, examine the motivation first. Ask: who is this prayer really about, me or God?
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