This morning I came to the book of Daniel looking for something else and instead Holy Spirit led me here.
I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your command and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. Daniel 9:4-6.
The above verses are the beginning of a beautiful prayer by Daniel for his homeland. Did you catch how Daniel begins his prayer? He begins with praising God for Who he is. All too often, I believe, we many times step into a sweet and beautiful time of prayer with God and immediately begin with our requests. Prayer means to intervene or intercede, but it is so much more than our requests, whether for ourselves or on behalf of others, it is part of the deep and intimate relationship with God that we ought to reach for on a daily basis. The second part of Daniel’s prayer is confession. Daily I thank God for the gifts of confession and repentance and His faithfulness to show me the sin in my life so I can enjoy uninterrupted fellowship with him. (1 John 1:6-9).
The body of Daniels’ prayer is for his country Israel. Not only was Daniel pleading with God to restore Israel, he did so in fasting, in sackcloth and in ashes. Fasting was sometimes done to show grief, distress or repentance. The wearing of sackcloth and ashes were also signs of repentance. Daniel was serious about his prayers for Israel, which has me thinking, am I, are you, serious about the way you pray for your homeland, your family, yourself and others?
I chuckle as I write this because yesterday I began asking God what I was missing in my prayers about a current situation. What came to mind was the angel that was sent to Daniel but was delayed by the prince of Persia and one of the chief angels, Michael, was sent to help. (Daniel 10). When I sat down to write this morning I was sure it would be about praying for our homelands and the current affairs of the world, yet, here I am, learning more about prayer from an ancient prophet and reading God’s answer to my question.
Precious One, whether today finds you praying for yourself, your family, for others, for your homeland or for all of these things, may we both follow Daniel’s lead with heart’s of sincerity and seriousness for the task at hand.
May we cry out as Daniel did;
O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name. Daniel 9:19.
When I was in sixth grade I sat in second seat in the flute section of our elementary school band. Other than that one experience, I am NOT musically inclined in any way, shape or form. Wait, I was a Song Girl in high school, but we didn’t sing, we danced and that is entirely another story! All the same, music moves me, especially worship music. When I am with my faith family and we are singing as one, it is an amazing experience! Might I add that during these times I sound awesome…..in my mind! Thankfully and at least, God loves a cheerful noise however that may sound.
Last summer we were in a small airport waiting on a flight delay. I had my ear buds in and my worship music loud and was pinning or sharing from one website to another. Suddenly, I look up and my family is staring at me with a look somewhere in between embarrassment and horror. Yep, you guessed it, I was carried away and had begun to sing, out loud and apparently not so quietly.
Don’t you think God enjoys those moments with us? When it is just the two of us hanging out, having a good time and it doesn’t matter who else is around? It reminds me of the story of King David when he had returned from war and the Lord had made him victorious. He came back into town dancing before the Lord with all his might. Wearing a linen ephod. (2 Samuel 6:14). Here is one artists rendition of what David might have looked like. His first wife Michel accused him of going around half-naked and in front of the slave girls! Lord have mercy, what was he thinking? David’s response to Michel was simple, “I will celebrate before the Lord.” (2 Samuel 6:21b).
While I don’t encourage any of us going around “half naked” physically, I would like to suggest baring our hearts in full nakedness in worship to the Lord. Today and everyday I encourage you to celebrate before the Lord however the Spirit moves you! Freedom in Christ is part of your inheritance and the Spirit will NEVER misguide you!
Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. Luke 9:26
This morning I spent some sweet and needed time in worship. I picked a song half way through the list on my phone and decided to simply listen to each song that followed without my usual jumping around. I chose to start my time of worship with “To Our God” by Bethel Worship. You can listen to that song here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZo_F6CVo8k.
Second on the list was “We Won’t Be Shaken” by Building 429, with these words;
“Whatever will come our way, through fire or pouring rain, we won’t be shaken, no we won’t be shaken. Whatever tomorrow brings, together we’ll rise and sing, that we won’t be shaken, no we won’t be shaken”
You can listen to this song here; http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=0FC2CJNU
Next on the lineup was “Not Where I Belong” by Building 429, which you can listen to here;http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=KPK7ZPNX, and contains these words.
“So when the walls come falling down on me. And when I’m lost in the current of a raging sea, I have this blessed assurance holding me.” “All I know is I’m not home yet. This is not where I belong.”
Are you starting to notice a theme here? When I heard these words I also heard the Holy Spirit whisper to my heart, “remember, when the struggles of this life come along THIS is NOT where you belong, you’re not home yet!” I thought, “how awesome would it be if in the midst of our struggles we remembered that statement?” Maybe some of you have the gift of consistently remembering earth is a temporary home for those who trust in Jesus, awesome! As for me, I know it in my head and I’m suspecting the Holy Spirit is beginning to teach me how to feel it in my heart.
“Whom Shall I Fear” by Chris Tomlin and “You Never Let Go” by Matt Redman, which you can listen to here http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=WDZYYWNX and here http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=7GWYKPNX, were the last songs to follow. These two songs are fighting songs! They speak to my heart about how God is always with me through the good and challenging times. Fighting for and with me, never letting go.
Is a struggle coming? Perhaps; most likely; what life isn’t without struggles and challenges? But, how gracious is my Lord and Savior Jesus to strengthen and comfort me BEFORE any struggle even begins? And, yet, I have a peace, a deep abiding peace that whatever does come my way He won’t let me be shaken.
What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Romans 8:31.
Recently, on another social media website, I posted; If every spiritual blessing from heaven is mine then I want them all and I’ll get in line and ask for more. Lay it on me Holy Spirit; overwhelm me until I can’t stand!
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Eph. 1:3.
This morning I realized the Holy Spirit answered that request during worship last night with our faith family. I could feel the progression and momentum building; the movement of the Holy Spirit. At one point I couldn’t even stand. I was bent over in my seat as the words of worship washed over me. I couldn’t sing, so I prayed.
When I felt like I could sit up again I looked over at three of our high school boys. Two were sitting in their chairs and one was on his knee’s. They were holding hands and praying with each other. I happened to be sitting next to my friend, mom to one of these boys, and I laid my head on her shoulder and we were wrecked together!
The Holy Spirit hasn’t stopped answering my request. This morning as I was running and listening to my worship music, I started singing out loud not caring who heard my non-melodic voice! I think I startled the man crossing the street in my direction, he seemed to make a wide berth for me to pass by!
My new request is “Holy Spirit do what you will in and through me during corporate worship”. Yes, I am fully aware of what I am asking. You can be praying for me!
Come Lord Jesus, come!
artwork by Aileen’s Thoughts/Aileen Stewart.