Praying Through Perilous Times (Part 4)

the clay and the potter

Time is reckoned from a human perspective or purpose. How did Daniel reckon time? In Daniel 9:1-2, he reckoned time according to God’s plan and promise. The second verse tells us that Daniel was looking through the Scriptures, finding the Word of the Lord regarding the number of years of Jerusalem’s desolation, which was 70 years (Jer. 25:11-12). This is astonishing because what we have here is God’s promise that judgment will come to Babylon at a divinely appointed time—God’s time. God’s plan for Babylon is ultimately towards His redemptive purposes (Jer. 9:10-13).

Time according to God’s Word

Notice that Daniel sees time according to the written revelation of God in His Word. He understands the times as being in God’s hand because he knows that God is sovereign. He trusts what he has read, because He has known God to be sovereign in revelation. He knows that if God has revealed it in His Word, then it is for His people to know.

What does this mean for Daniel? How does he respond to this understanding of God’s plans and promises? He prays. When we reckon time rightly, we see opportunities to pray (Daniel 9:3).

How did Daniel pray?

First, Daniel calls to mind God’s attributes. The prayer extols the very character of God particularly in relation to His people. Many times we have unworthy thoughts of God. We do not think of His greatness, His glory, His majesty, His power, and His sovereignty. We do not consider the covenant relationship with which He has bound Himself to us. We do not think of Christ with whom we have been united. Let us call to mind God's attributes.

Second, Daniel confesses his (and his people’s) sins. Too often we make light of our sins, and do not think of our unrighteousness as offensive to the Lord of the universe. We do not think of how our disobedience dishonors God, and despises His Divine law. Let’s confess our sins.

When we reckon time rightly
we see opportunities to pray.

Third, Daniel commends God’s righteousness. Daniel recognizes that what they face as exiles is Divine discipline (Dan. 10-11). He does not try to justify himself or his people. Please remember that self-justification has no place in the Gospel. Recall that the Gospel announces God’s justification, God’s righteousness, and not human righteousness. Let us commend God’s righteousness.

Finally, Daniel cries out for God’s compassion. Daniel calls upon the Lord to let His holy anger and righteous wrath to turn away from them. Surely their iniquities had become a reproach. (Dan. 17-19). Let us cry out for God’s compassion.

But brothers and sisters, do we recognize the perils of our time? Do we not have greater reasons to pray? Do we not a have a greater Christ to pray through?

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Pull-quote: When we reckon time rightly, we see opportunities to pray.
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