Archives for posts with tag: Daniel

Prayer series
You could say that prayer made Daniel fit for a palace. He was taken to Babylon as a refugee – a poster child for the Babylonian re-education program of the Hebrew people, initiated by the King Nebuchadnezzar.

Right off the bat Daniel had to rely on prayers because he chose to reject the King’s diet. He and his friends asked for water and a meager sampling of vegetables when they could have feasted on wine, meat and other decadent stuff from the King’s kitchen. Well, they prayed and God blessed their diet. (Don’t you wish that’s how it worked today?).

Because of his bold prayers, I believe, Daniel rose to the attention of the King and eventually became an influential man in all of Persia for years to come. His enemies took notice and tried to bring about his demise, but Daniel was astute. I imagine they tried to throw all kinds of appetizing things before him, but Daniel had the self-control thing down pat.

So they decided to try to catch him in matters of his religion. It was a simple proposition: Babylon was infested with gods for all kinds of occasions while Daniel believed in only one God. If they could mandate Daniel to pray to one of their gods or even to the king himself, and he refused, it would be check-mate. But their plan went up in smoke, together with them, because God honored Daniel’s faithful prayers with his window open even when it was insane to do so.

Throughout the book that carries his name Daniel keeps occupied with affairs of the Kingdom and prayer. He interprets dreams and prays. He advises kings and prays. He studies Scriptures and prays. He fasts and prays. So much praying that I think no one else except Jesus should use the title “prayer warrior.” No wonder this guy outlived so many kings who ate so much better than he.

Daniel’s prayer of confession in chapter 9:4-19 should be a model for all of us. A moving prayer that showed concern not only for his own sins but for those of the entire nation of Israel. Daniel was a global prayer warrior. He prayed and at times the response was supersonic, like in chapter 9 when the Angel Gabriel appeared to him at the speed of light. But he also prayed when the response was delayed.

Fascinating. In chapter 10 Daniel starts praying and fasting for three weeks. He also says that he didn’t even shower during that time – yuck! Apparently, Daniel had decided to continue this until he got a response. Bold. Well, three weeks later the response came in the person of the Archangel Michael. Daniel’s prayer seemed to be climbing to higher echelons of heaven since now it was an Archangel, not simply an angel, who was dispatched to answer him.

But the amazing thing is that when Michael sees Daniel in a vision he says that he had been dispatched the moment Daniel had started to pray but it took him three weeks to get to Daniel. No, Michael was not overweight and his wings didn’t experience a wardrobe mal-function. He was opposed by a spiritual entity he calls “the Prince of Persia.”

Whatever the “Prince of Persia” was he was a force to be reckoned with. But in the end God prevailed and Michael delivered the answer to Daniel’s prayer. And the moral of the story is that prayer is first and foremost a spiritual activity. If our prayers have any spiritual teeth, the enemy will oppose them. But we must press on, persist, and boldly keep storming the gates of heaven. But remember: Daniel didn’t simply take a crash course on prayer. He didn’t just listen to a TED talk on the power of prayer. He had practiced his whole life. And when the time was right he also got to be involved in the battle for the survival of God’s people.

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade

Lead Pastor, Grace Church, Lititz, PA

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Get Real with God Blog
So Habakkuk had a complaint. Big deal. We all have complaints. Mine is why I can’t grow enough hair at the top of my head even after I treated it with some expensive “remedy” for over a year now! Just kidding… But isn’t it true that our complaints are often trivial compared to the things that really matter in this world?

So here is a short list, to help you avoid “wasting” your complaints:

1. There are at least 180 little Christian girls in the hands of some really bad guys who follow this ultra- militant Muslim group in Nigeria called Boko Haram. Recently, the entire world was mobilized to find a plane that disappeared on a flight to China. Millions and millions of dollars, expensive aircrafts, specialized boats, sophisticated radars, unparalleled cooperation by big time rivals. Why can’t we come together and mobilize to find these little girls and maybe in the process wipe out from the face of the earth all those hateful monsters who think the way to obey their God is to kidnap pre-adolescent girls and after abusing them sell them as slaves?

2. Recently, the Chinese government demolished a Christian church, a landmark in the Zhejiang province, accusing the Christians of not complying with some building regulation. This is just the latest example of the official Chinese government’s attempts to quash the spread of Christianity. Such “unregulated” church growth threatens the stability of the Chinese government, so they say. So, suppose a mosque was destroyed somewhere in China, would journalists write more about it? Would government officials protest more vociferously?

3. The U.N. came out last week warning the world that 3.7 million people are in danger of starvation in South Sudan, the vast majority of which being children. How has the world reacted? Where is the Reverend Al Sharpton when we need him?

I could go on and on. You get the idea. There are enough grown-up type complaints to last multiple lifetimes. Our world is in a world of trouble and with each passing day those who intend to harm and do evil seem to be multiplying like the rabbits in my backyard. How do we even begin to make sense of all of this?

Habakkuk started with a loud and well articulated concern. When he got the initial response, he was even more shocked – God was going to use a nation more evil than Israel to punish God’s own people! “That can’t be!” he said. Then he sat down and waited in silence for a response.

In the next scene, God is the one who grabs the mike with a vengeance. He reminds Habakkuk of the ultimate end of those who chose the path of unrighteousness. The text is so pointed, you could say that a mocking God makes an appearance. And He is even mimicking His enemies’ taunts and turning their sword against them. The scorn of God, who would have thunk? So in chapter two of this little book, God warns everyone about four pathways to life that will not succeed. The text is organized in four neat sections, which I will develop more on Sunday in a sermon I’m calling “God takes us to school!”:

Lesson 1: Ruthless get-rich schemes will not prosper (Habakkuk 2:6-11).

Lesson 2: Random power-grabbing will not prosper (Habakkuk 2:12-14).

Lesson 3: Reckless indulging will not prosper (Habakkuk 2: 15-17).

Lesson 4: Renegade religion will not prosper (Habakkuk 2:18-20).

And the amazing thing is that everyone of these lessons materialized in history as the Babylonians, having experienced a spectacular rise to power, quickly met a crushingly humiliating defeat, under the leadership of Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar, which we clearly see by reading the book of Daniel.

In the end, then, Habakkuk’s complaint was not wasted. In time, God answered him, but He did it His own way. And there is the challenge for us – letting God do it His own way, whether in our lives or in the world.

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade