Mark 6:1-29; 2 Samuel 15; Daniel 9
The movie “”Patton” tells the story of General George C.Patton during World War II. As the war was closing down and troops were attacking German positions, the Germans made one last counter—attack that is known as “The Battle of the Bulge.” German troops had surrounded the Americans in Bastogne, and Patton pulled his army out of battle and traveled day and night to get to the town and rescue the American troops. As they talked about the weather, Patton knew how to deal with it, according to the weather. He asked the chaplain to pray for better weather. When the chaplain protested that things didn’t work that way, Patton smiled and said that based on his dealings with the Almighty, if the chaplain wrote a good prayer, God would answer.
If you’re a purist in your theology, you may cringe at that theology, but according to the movie, the prayer worked. While you can’t dictate to God when you pray, God works through our prayers. Don’t ask me how, don’t ask me why. Daniel, known mostly for his dream interpretations, was a mighty man of prayer. His regular prayers sent him to the lion’s den. As he saw that the time allotted for the exile was coming to an end, he prayed. “Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.” (Daniel 9:18-19)
Daniel’s prayer began when he realized that the time of exile, prophesied by Jeremiah, was coming to an end. This brought Daniel to his knees, realizing the greatness of God. In the midst of the prayer he calls on God to hear them and to see the desolation of Jerusalem. He calls on God to answer because of His great mercy, not because they deserved it. He well knew that the people of God had rebelled against Him. Daniel dealt with the faithlessness of his people all the time. Then he calls on God to act and restore His city and His people, because they bear His name. It is an amazing prayer of repentance and seeking forgiveness and reconciliation, not just for Daniel, but for all of the Jews who have been scattered. It is a prayer ignited by God’s promise of restoration. Daniel doesn’t say “Ok Lord, You promised restoration. It’s time.” What he did as he prayed was recognize the sin of the Jews that brought the shame down on them. He asked for mercy, but didn’t demand it.
Do our prayers fit this mold? Too often my prayers are concerned with my needs. I may pray for others, but it will be for their individual needs as they arise. We are urged by some to pray for great wealth, usually to indulge ourselves. We see the attacks on Christians throughout the world, and may pray for the persecuted church without recognizing the need for the church as a whole to repent and seek restoration because of our sin. Today, as you look around at the world, as you look at the problems you are dealing with, as you remember those who are undergoing persecution, pray for the big picture. Seek God’s restoration for His church around the world.
Oh Lord, give ear to our prayers. Open Your eyes and see the brokenness of Your church. We seek Your mercy and grace not because we deserve it, but because You are righteous and You grant us mercy and forgiveness. We don’t deserve Your love, but You have showered it upon us. Return the glory to Your people, Lord. Help us be willing to suffer anything for the sake of the gospel. Give us a passion to share Your love,Your word, with those who have never experienced Your mercy.
Daily Devotion by Bob James https://dailyenduringtruth.com/https://www.amazon.com/Daily-Enduring-Truth-January-February/dp/1983973955