The year was 606 BC, and Israel’s rebellion had landed them in Babylonian captivity. Daniel was a part of that captivity. Jeremiah the prophet had foretold of this exile many years prior. The prophecy clearly defined the length of their bondage. For seventy years Israel would remain in Babylonian captivity. Now look at what Scripture says in Daniel 9.
It was the first year of the reign of Darius the Mede, the son of Xerxes, who became king of the Babylonians. During the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, learned from reading the word of the Lord, as revealed to Jeremiah the prophet, that Jerusalem must lie desolate for seventy years. So, I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and fasting. – Daniel 9:1-3 NLT
As Daniel was reading Jeremiah’s prophecy, he realized that Israel’s seventy years of bondage had come to an end. Their freedom began that day. It was not God’s will for them to live in those conditions any longer. Daniel came to that realization while reading the Scripture.
I often wonder what victories we miss out on when we fail to study God’s Word.
As Daniel read, he discovered something incredible. How did Daniel respond to what he read? He began to pray and fast. Now hold on! If it was God’s will to set them free, why did Daniel respond the way he did? Why did he need to pray and fast if he knew it was God’s will? Perhaps a better question would be, “Did he need to pray and fast?”
Most of us would have sat back and passively waited. Daniel could have said, “Well, God said this would be our year, let’s wait and see if He comes through.” That was not what Daniel did. He knew better. Somehow, he must have known that God needed his involvement. The decision had been made in Heaven, but God still needed someone to enforce that decision on earth. Daniel obviously believed that the destiny of his nation depended greatly upon his prayer. Regardless of where a nation is at any given moment, prayer can change everything. As long as Abraham continued to pray for Sodom and Gomorrah, God continued to extend mercy.
Prayer is also a means of influence. Free will is something God has given to each of us. Whether we will obey God or not is our choice. But prayer influences that choice. If God can harden Pharaoh’s heart, He can soften a hardened heart as well. Proverbs 21:1 says, “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; and He turns it wherever He wills.” That’s why It’s so important to prayer for our country’s leaders. Saul was on his way to meet with the pollical leaders of his day, with the intention of gaining their support in his effort to stop the early church from advancing. But God had a plan long before Saul had a plan. Jesus appeared to Saul, stopping him dead in his tracks, and the rest is history. If we prayed for our nation’s leaders, half as much as we criticize them, it would be amazing what God would do. Just the other day, I was reading the book of Zechariah and I came across verse nine of the third chapter. In the latter part of that verse the Lord said, “and I will remove the quilt of this land in a single day.” When I read that, I heard the Holy Spirit ask me, “Can you believe for a revival in America that would sweep every lost person into My kingdom?”
When God wants to do something in a nation, He looks for people to partner with Him in prayer.
We see this same thought in Ezekiel 22:30 when God said, “I searched for a man among them who would repair the wall and stand in the gap…” Prayer is not begging God to do something He does not want to do. Prayer is enforcing Christ’s victory over ungodly circumstances. It is carrying out, on earth, decisions already made in Heaven. The Cross legally disarmed Hell and stripped Satan of his authority. In the words of Paul Billheimer, “God put the carrying out of Calvary’s victory in the hands of the Church (Matthew 18:18 and Luke 10:17-19). He has given to her power of attorney. She (the church) is His representation. This given authority works only through the prayers of a believing Church. Any church without a well-organized and systematic prayer program is simply operating a religious treadmill.”
In Genesis 15, Exodus 23 and Numbers 34, God gave His people the borders of the promise land. In great detail, He told them how far in each direction their new land was to reach. But then He told Joshua, “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses.”
What? Wait a minute! I thought the borders were already established. They were!
The victory had been established in Heaven; now they had to walk it out here on earth. Remember this; whatever you pray over, you rule over! Where there is no prayer, there is no power. Prayer is the difference maker!
Prayer engages the omnipotent God and brings Him into human affairs.
When a piece of property is transferred from one party to the next, the title work has to be notarized. A notary stamps his or her seal on the paperwork making it legally binding. Joshua became the notary, and his footprint became Heaven’s official seal. From time to time, before our weekend services start, I often tell our worship team to lead our congregation with the revelation that Christ has given us our city. Put your foot down and worship with some attitude!
Romans 16:20 is a verse that used to bother me. The passage reads, “And the God of peace will soon crush Satan underneath your feet.” That “soon” word used to irritate me to no end. In my mind, the word “soon” implies “not at this time.” My question is, “When? How soon?” Here’s the answer: as soon as you begin to pray. Jesus did what needed to be done. When we pray, we enforce the victory already won at the cross. As soon as you pray, your victory is on its way. Listed below are verses you can use to guide you as you pray for our local, state and federal leaders. Your prayers make a difference.
- Pastor Jason
1 Timothy 2:1-2
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.
The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turns it wheresoever He will.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance.
Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.
If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?