I’ve written in the past about Daniel’s prayer, we did a prayer event which included it on this blog and SAGC Facebook page called “Bring the ‘Walls of Jericho’ – All Forms of Animal Exploitation – Down” (you can find this event here). We also have written a lot about the importance of prayer and we have a prayer page listing the ways we exploit the animal kingdom that need our prayer. Go here for more articles about prayer, as well.
Daniel 9:3, 17: “And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and
supplication, with fasting . . .
Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake.
O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousness, but for thy great mercies.
O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.”
From the beginning, God reaches into our darkness, bargains with us, to try to turn us from the darkness of Satan’s kingdom.
Time and time again, the Lord tries to reach his people through many OT prophets – Moses, Abraham, David, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Hosea, Malachi, Daniel, and more. He says things like “If my people will…then I will…..”
“ 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.”
2 Chronicles 7:14
There are dozens of passages in the Bible that explicitly state that God changed his plans in response to prayer (e.g. Num. 11:1–2; 14:12–20; 16:20–35; Deut. 9:13–14, 18–20, 25; 2 Sam. 24:17–25; 1 Kings 21:27–29; 2 Chron. 12:5–8; Jer. 26:19 – see this ReKnew.org post called “Does Prayer Really Make a Difference?” for more). Using three examples, first, Abraham stood in the gap for Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham bargained with God to spare the cities if there were righteous people in them. Abraham asked if the Lord would spare the cities if fifty righteous people lived there. The Lord said yes. Boldly, Abraham kept bargaining down, until God agreed not to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah if even ten righteous people lived there. Then the Lord departed. The cities could not be saved as no one righteous could be found there.
Second, Daniel stood in the gap for Israel. His famous prayer, of which we’ve quoted part of at the beginning of this post, is a bold petition for God to act (see more in these two posts here and here about Daniel’s prayer for Israel).
Third, Jesus stands in the gap for all of us. All three pray on behalf of the people – Abraham to save the people of Sodom and Gomorrah; Daniel for Israel; Jesus for all mankind (John 17:1-26). Abraham was God’s hand picked founder of his chosen nation Israel, who’s calling was to restore the faithfulness of all peoples to Yahweh; Daniel points the way to Jesus; Jesus is the embodiment of the Father, who is the way to forgiveness, to complete Shalom, to the kind of LIFE creation was intended to experience, and to this LIFE eternally one day.
Just like at the time of Abraham, Daniel, and of Jesus, there is the need for God’s people today to understand the fundamental purposes of prayer. He calls us to be a people who with Christ as the head of our community bodies, seek to manifest the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. We do this by displaying Christ’s character to one another, to the animal kingdom, and the earth, and through prayer (go here for an article about manifesting God’s kingdom on earth):
- We give outrageously to those around us, treat others as we want to be treated, love our enemies.
- By visualizing the Kingdom of God that Jesus came to establish in as much detail as we can, with his kingdom in mind, we can work toward creating it on earth now.
- We live peacefully with each other in as much as is possible.
All this is accomplished through God’s guidance in and through prayer. We pray unceasingly – about everything! Do we want circumstances to change for the animal kingdom? Do we want to see God’s will being done on earth toward the animals and earth? Philippians 4:6 – “…in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
As Greg Boyd says in this great article on the subject of say-so and prayer, quote:
“My questions began to be resolved years ago when I began to think about prayer in light of God’s purpose for creation. God created humans to be his viceroys on the earth. We were placed here to administrate God’s loving providence “on earth as it is in heaven.” Out of the fullness of life we get from our relationship with God, we were to reflect God’s loving character and purpose to each other, the animals and the earth. He gave us “say-so” over this domain, with the goal that we would lovingly choose to align our “say-so” with his “say-so” so that his loving “say-so” would reign on the earth through us. We were to be co-laborers with God and co-rulers with Christ (2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 5:10, 20:6), thus ensuring that the earth would be the domain of God’s reign — the Kingdom of God.” (Greg Boyd)
Upon this foundation, we pray. We stand in the gap for the peoples who live in darkness. There is one Kingdom of Light, and one kingdom of darkness. We stand in the gap in prayer for the animal kingdom and the earth. We stand in the gap for God to unify us. We endeavor to make him our peace, our king, our leader, our president, our commander in chief. We strive to be his ambassadors, his viceroys.
Are we nearing the time when God will judge the peoples of the earth?
We live in unprecedented times. Since the dawn of industrialization, the population of the earth is such that it has never been before (see the Human Populations article found here). Industrialization has only been around on the scale that we know it since the late 1700’s, early 1800’s (Industrial Revolution). The age of science has changed the face of the earth again, as well. Human kind has never known the sort of comforts many now know in comparison with lifestyles pre-industrialization and before the age of science. The divide between people groups, between those that have and those that don’t, has grown deeper, wider, more deadly, exceedingly heinous, as for some, the inequality that exists because of sin is only that much more pronounced.
The face of the earth has changed for the animal kingdom, as well. We live in a day and time when species are going extinct in record numbers. They have never faced such pressures before. Between our food industry, sport, hunting, entertainment, and vivisection, the animal kingdom has become exploited by us in ways never possible in ages past. Many people live more comfortable lives, especially in wealthy countries, in large part because of what we do to the animal kingdom. We as a people still do not heed God’s calling that “anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same” (Luke 3:11). Nor do we heed his call “to be merciful as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36). No one should go hungry, unclothed, without shelter, without any of the basics – nor should any go without mercy. We live at a time when there is more than enough for all, and NONE of it needs to come off of the back of the animals. With what science and technology have brought us, we could design a world that is fair for ALL creation, merciful and kind. It is a matter of what we treasure, and the Bible tells us, “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt 6:21, Luke 12:34). And upon where our hearts are, we build our cultures, societies, industries, kingdoms.
After the flood, God said of man “every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood” (Genesis 8:21). Though cultures, societies, and landscapes change, and man’s capacity to use the knowledge he has gained increases, the human heart remains in it’s fallen state. The amount of evil we are capable of causing increases in conjunction with our scientific, technological, and industrial know how. Like Sodom and Gomorrah before the flood; like the times of Daniel during the Babylonian rule; like the state of the culture under Roman rule during the time of Jesus; our modern world is undergoing extreme political, social, economic, religious, and cultural tensions. The natural world also is undergoing extreme constrictions. Perhaps all of these astrictions are more extreme than ever known before. Conceivably, we are experiencing wickedness as such that not even Sodom and Gomorrah experienced. Are there enough of us standing in the gap like Abraham and Daniel, and with Jesus, asking God to act?
Next week we will complete this series with Part Two. There will be a rendition of Daniel’s Prayer that I have attempted to write, in the style and spirit of the prayer, addressing, like Daniel, the sin of our day, petitioning God to act for his mercies sake. Stay tuned!
Thank you for following our blog; we hope you have been blessed by it, and we welcome any comments. ~Kathy