by Stefan Miller
The power-bases of the nations are not located in capital cities or national parliaments. It rests in the hands of the praying church. This is one of the foundational reasons why God is establishing an unprecedented prayer movement in our generation. The life and message of Daniel is therefore radically relevant right now.
The book that bears his name paints a vivid picture of the interplay between prayer and the dispensing of God’s power to govern history and alter the destiny of nations. There are four things about Daniel that make his lifestyle vital for us to follow as we eagerly seek the in-breaking of justice, righteousness and salvation in the nations. They are (1) His grand vision of God, (2) his identity before the Lord, (3) his spiritual insight and (4) his heart posture. These four things formed a man whose prayers caused angels to move, demons to tremble, ungodly governments to topple and wicked legislation to bow down.
1. Daniel knew a great God. He had a glorious vision of the sovereign God who is not only involved in the course of world history but reigns over it; subduing nations and exalting others in their place (Dan. 2:21). Daniel knew many powerful rulers. But His God had authority to direct the very hearts of kings (Dan. 4 cf. Pro. 21:1), including presidents, prime ministers and legislators; and sustain them in their course or tear them down in a breath (Dan. 5:23). God’s irrepressible power to act was the rock solid reality that empowered Daniel in prayer. If we would pray great prayers that carry great weight and alter real circumstances – personal or national (e.g. the overturning of legislation permitting baby slaughter in the womb) – we must know and have confidence in a great God (Eph. 3:20).
2. Not only did he have deep understanding of the Lord, he also knew his own identity in the eyes of heaven. Daniel persisted in prayer because he was confident in love. His assurance that mountains would be moved when he spoke weak words (Dan. 9:23; 10:12) rested in his assurance that he was beloved and highly esteemed (Dan. 9:23; 10:11, 19). We will have the same courage and longevity in prayer only when we comprehend the immeasurable pleasure in God’s heart towards us (Eph. 3).
3. Also, Daniel possessed acute insight about the context he lived in. He knew the times and the seasons that had been decreed by heaven and he was able to pray with insight into God’s purposes (Dan. 9:2). Our context, at the end of the age, urgently demands insight for our generation. The Lord is calling His people to partner with Him in prayer; to agree with His ways and bring to pass His purposes on the earth (2 Pet. 3:12; Rev. 8:3). Like Daniel in his day, our prayers will alter circumstances to the degree that we possess the knowledge of God’s will from His word and are filled with His desires (Dan. 9:2, Jer. 25 cf. John 15:7, Ps. 37:4).
4. Lastly, Daniel lived with a life posture of sobriety and humility before the Lord. Daniel’s dependence and sobriety – fasting, mourning, and steadily seeking the Lord (Dan. 1:8, 6:10, 10:2-3 etc.) – was his lifestyle for 70 plus years. He was persistent. He had a history in prayer. I wonder if many in our day have swallowed a sub-biblical (mis)perception of God’s sovereignty that has led to less constancy and urgency in prayer instead of more. This was not so with Daniel (Dan. 6:10; 9:2-3). And it must not be so with our generation. To those given wholly to God He has delegated true power and authority to affect the course of history under His sovereign leadership (James 5:16-18). Praying for Daniel’s in our time who will give God no rest until righteousness prevails, injustice is abolished, and the whole earth is filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord.