Fulfilling the Great Commission by raising Christ-centred disciples to plant vibrant, biblical churches in our cities and countries all over the world

A BURDEN TO PRAY BY Ps Brendan Kirby

Prayer is the most powerful thing we can do in our lives. Believing this is the hard part. Putting it into practice takes time, diligence and application. The prophecy from Jeremiah is linked with Daniel’s prayer to indicate the power of prayer to change nations. God heard Daniel’s prayer and put into place plans to fulfill His own prophecy. Every prophecy is conditional upon us obeying the Lord’s requirements. Let us persevere in seeking the Lord in prayer!
Dan 9: 16 – 19 “O Lord, according to all Your righteousness, I pray, let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people are a reproach to all those around us. 17“Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and for the Lord’s sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate. 18“O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies. 19“O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”

a) As we read Daniel’s great prayer, do we believe that God acted on behalf of this prayer? If prayer is so powerful, how much are we dependent upon our ability to pray?

Jer 29: 10 – 14 For thus says the LORD: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.

A. FROM JEREMIAH’S PROPHECY WE SEE THAT:

a) we see the Lord is willing to forgive

“thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope”

b) key elements of prayer required by the Lord:

you will call upon Me;
you will go and pray to Me and I will listen to you; (find a special place)
you will find Me when you search for Me with ALL your heart

c) Rewards of Prayer:

I will be found by you;
I will bring you back from your captivity;
I will gather you from all nations

b) What do you want to achieve with your life? How much do we think we can achieve without praying and asking God for help? How important should prayer be then?

B. WE SEE THE PROPHET DANIEL’S RESPONSE:

a) Daniel does not get lackadaisical and say “Well its been prophesied, it will come to pass no matter what I do!” But Daniel says, “I set my face toward the Lord God to make request …”
b) Daniel sees the requirement of the Lord to pray, to call upon Him, to seek Him with all his heart – in order for the Lord’s will to come to pass! We must pray in order to bring God’s will from heaven down to earth, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven!”
c) Daniel confesses his own sin and rebellion and that of his people – does not exalt himself above his fellowmen (Dan 9: 13);
d) Daniel prays according to God’s righteousness;
e) Daniel prays “for the Lord’s sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary” – not so much for our sake, but for the sake of God’s name;
f) Daniel prays not according to his own righteous deeds, but because of God’s great mercies;
g) Daniel is whole hearted, “O Lord hear! O Lord forgive! O Lord listen and act! Do not delay!”

Through Daniel’s prayer, the prophecy of Jeremiah is brought to fulfillment via the angel Gabriel’s response, “from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem …” This was completed by King Cyrus (2 Chron 36: 22, 23).

c) What dream is worthy for us to give our lives to?

I believe that the answer is “Whatever God calls us to do”, amen! But let us not rely on our own strength and take God’s help for granted – let us pray!

James says, “Yet you do not have because you do not ask.” (James 4: 3). We must pray in order to see God’s will come to pass in our lives – knowing God’s will is not enough – we must pray to see great things achieved through our lives!

C. ASPECTS OF PRAYER:

1) The Value of Prayer:

God promises us that we will find Him when we seek Him with all our heart!

2) The Importance of Prayer:

God promises that He will bring us back from our captivity!

3) The Need For Prayer:

Abraham interceded for Sodom and Gomorrah, and was able to see Lot brought to safety.
Genesis 18: 23 – 26 And Abraham came near and said, “Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? 24 “Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You also destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous that were in it? 25 “Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” 26 So the LORD said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.”

4) The Power of Prayer:

To deliver people’s lives out of darkness into eternal life!

“I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you”.
Moses interceded while Aaron stood between the dead and the living (Num 16: 44 – 48).
Numbers 16: 44 – 48 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 45 “Get away from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.” And they fell on their faces. 46 So Moses said to Aaron, “Take a censer and put fire in it from the altar, put incense on it, and take it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them; for wrath has gone out from the LORD. The plague has begun.” 47 Then Aaron took it as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the assembly; and already the plague had begun among the people. So he put in the incense and made atonement for the people. 48 And he stood between the dead and the living; so the plague was stopped.

5) The Sorrow for Lack of Prayer:

If we do not pray then we will not experience God’s mercy but will be recompensed according to our deeds! (Ezek 22: 29 – 31).

Consequences of lack of prayer: little fruit of the Spirit (little love, joy peace etc.) dryness; little growth personally; little power in the Spirit; results in God’s judgement rather than experiencing God’s mercy and grace!

Ezekiel 22: 29 – 31 “The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger. 30 “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. 31 “Therefore I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; and I have recompensed their deeds on their own heads,” says the Lord GOD.

d) How can we avoid sorrow and sadness? How can we disarm anxiety and fear? How can we overcome anger and rage? How can we disable the grip of bitterness?

CONCLUSION

Let us develop a desire and a burden to pray. Let us experience on a personal level the value of prayer. Let us come to a greater understanding of the importance of prayer. We need to also come to grasp the need that we all have to pray regularly. And also to avoid the consequences of lack of prayer. Let us desire to develop a burden to pray – that our lives and our time may have an effect that lasts forever like Daniel’s, Abraham’s, and Moses and Aaron’s prayers, amen!