We're in Chapter 9! Can you believe we only have 3 chapters left? I hope you have enjoyed it. It's been so great "teaching" all of you. You may not comment, except for Robin :), but I know you're out there, and I thank you for coming back everyday.
I want you to just read the first four verses of Chapter 9 today. There is great significance in what we are about to see Daniel do and we will learn much from peeking in at what he considers to be most important in tragic and difficult times.
Let's pull the history curtain back one more time and feel what Daniel may have felt as he watched his people live in captivity.
Just because I'm nice, I'll type out the verses for us!
"In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes a Mede by descent, who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom - in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord God and confessed."
Daniel pretty much knew that the captivity of Jerusalem would last his entire lifetime. His heart broke at the realization of this tragedy, but he made an important decision that was completely in character for Daniel. He went straight to the Lord in behalf of his country and his people.
Let's break that down just a bit:
"I understood from Scripture..." He knew the WORD!
"I turned to the Lord..." He stopped what he was doing to get down to praying
"...and pleaded with him in prayer and petition..." He didn't hold anything back
"...in fasting..." This we'll come right back to
"...in sackcloth and ashes..." Not something we do anymore, but it was a sign of mourning. I guess like wearing black now-a-days.
We can know the Word so well that we'll know how and when to pray and for what or for whom. (Is that when you use "whom"?) :)
Not only that, we should be able to stop at any moment and pray for anything, even if we are pleading! I've begged God for many things. I've sat on just about every floor in this house and brought him something in tears and desperation. And even if I didn't get the answer I wanted, I know was free to ask/beg/plead to Him. He has always proven Himself faithful to my transparent heart.
Daniel's prayer was more than just kneeling down by his bed to say a little prayer for Jerusalem. This turned into an all out prayer event. Fasting included.
There is a mystery to fasting. I've done it and it is by no means easy, especially when I'm at home all day with my kids! I really have to rely on the Spirit when I fast! But Daniel was fasting for someone else. He had a purpose. He had a broken heart. He was so intent of praying for Jerusalem that we went without eating to make his case before God.
He was fasting as described in Isaiah 58:6, "Is this not the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke...?"
Daniel fasted for the freedom of his people. He was desperate for the freedom of a nation that he gave of himself to bring mercy from God.
Have you ever fasted? Is there anything that you need to see real breakthrough in? Are you in bondage to anything? Fasting might prove to be the freedom moment you have been waiting for. If nothing else has worked, try the fast chosen by God to be free! He will rescue you from what ever holds you captive. It is a false prison. You are held in by deception and fasting might bring forth the clarity you need to see your Rescuer giving you His hand!
Maybe you need to fast for a loved one who does not yet know Jesus. What if our dying to that need for a day or two or three could call forth such miraculous supernatural power from God that doesn't make sense on this side of eternity? What if our fasting was the pivotal moment in the heavenlies to help bring someone to the saving knowledge of Jesus? What a moment that would be!
Maybe you need to fast for a decision, or a job. Maybe you need to fast just to let God know He is numero uno. If you have never fasted, I recommend it. It's difficult, but worth it. It's challenging, but holy. It's time consuming, but a place of focus. It requires much. Demands much. But will bring forth much.
Who knows, maybe our fasting for other nations could free them too. Hmmm, something to consider.