Tag Archives: prayer

Ezekiel 48; Daniel 1:1-2:30

This is what I know when I meet Daniel–he was physically fit, attractive, teachable and capable, educated, and qualified. He was going to be treated (somewhat) like a king–at least with a measure of respect and dignity–eating food and drinking wine from the king’s table. And he was going to be taught the language and literature of the Babylonians.

Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.

Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.

Daniel 1:3-8, NIV

And though he was enlisted to be part of the king’s service and immersed in the culture of the Babylonians, he drew a line he wouldn’t cross: he would not defile himself with the royal food and wine. I take special note of this.

I learn a lot about Daniel and his friends in these opening scriptures. And I see how God works in their lives.

17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.

Daniel 1:17, NIV, emphasis mine

I also take special notice of what happens when Daniel is under extreme pressure. He’s on the cusp of execution because all the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers are unable to tell the king the content of his dream or its meaning.

14 When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact.

Daniel 2:14, NIV

Daniel speaks with wisdom and tact.

He also takes the issue to the Lord in prayer and expectation.

17 Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 18 He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven 20 and said:

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
    wisdom and power are his.
21 He changes times and seasons;
    he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to the discerning.
22 He reveals deep and hidden things;
    he knows what lies in darkness,
    and light dwells with him.
23 I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:
    You have given me wisdom and power,
you have made known to me what we asked of you,
    you have made known to us the dream of the king.”

Daniel 2:17-23, NIV

I think again on the quote, “Under pressure, you don’t rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training.” Finding himself a captive of sorts, enlisted, and facing great stresses, I see the level of Daniel’s training–a foundation of solid boundaries, discipline, faith, and humility.

Lord, these days I find myself leaning more and more into you. I’m thankful for a reading today that highlights your presence and provision. And I’m also grateful for a reminder of my own personal responsibility to stick to boundaries and maintain a focus.

Courtney (66books365)

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Isaiah 37:30-40:31

About that time Hezekiah became deathly ill. “This is what the Lord says: ‘Set your affairs in order, for you are going to die. You will not recover from this illness.” When Hezekiah heard this, he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember, O Lord, how I have always been faithful to you and have served you single-mindedly, always doing what pleases you. “This is what the Lord, the God of your ancestor David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tear… I will add fifteen years to your life” Isaiah 38:1-5 NLT

Hezekiah was so bold to pray that prayer. He knew that God had more for him to do. Am I praying courageous prayers in faith? Or has the enemy got me so discouraged that I don’t?

Only the living can praise you as I do today. Each generation tells of your faithfulness to the next. Think of it-the Lord is ready to heal me! I will sing his praises with instruments every day of my life in the Temple of the Lord.” Isaiah 39:19&20 NLT

I think about times when the Lord has answered my prayers and I journal about His faithfulness. And my faith is strengthened. But, I can also get forgetful. Did Hezekiah know that he would get discouraged to? That’s why he took the time to write his story? And he wanted the Lord to get the glory for what He did in his life, for generations to come?

“Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting. “Clear the way through the wilderness for the Lord! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God! Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills. Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places. Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all the people will see it together. The Lord has spoken!” Isaiah 40:3-4 NLT

Dear Lord, thank you that you are a God of restoration and redemption. Thank you for your grace. Thank you that you still perform miracles today. Even if the healing doesn’t come, you are still good. You are sovereign. I trust You. Amen.

Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing.” Isaiah 49:26 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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Proverbs 24:1-27:10

My child, eat honey, for it is good, and the honeycomb is sweet to the taste. In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, you will have a bright future, and your hopes will not be cut short.” Proverbs 24:13&14 NLT

I think about the little old lady who sits near me at church. Her face seems to exude wisdom, shining from her soul. I see her raising her hands in worship and wonder what her story is. She has a quiet trust about her. I am thankful for the wisdom of Christians who are farther along in their walk with the Lord than me. For their example and faith.

A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.” Proverbs 25:28 NLT

What am I letting into my soul that might be causing me to lack self-control?

Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket. To one who listens, valid criticism is like a gold earring or other gold jewelry. Trustworthy messengers refresh like snow in the summer. They revive the the spirit of their employer.” Proverbs 25:12-14 NLT

Lord, give me discernment to know when to offer advice. As well as to listen when someone offers criticism. I think of all the times I have been too easily offended. Help me to keep my heart open to hear what You might be saying through a trusted friend or mentor.

The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.” Proverbs 27:9 NLT

Dear Father, Thank you that I can pray for wisdom and you will freely give it. Thank for for your Holy Spirit who counsels me in all things. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Psalms 125-131

“Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.” Psalms 126 NLT

Am I focusing on the dead, dry places or His power to restore? How awesome that my tears can be seeds that are turned into joy.

“From the depths of despair, O Lord, I call for your help. Hear my cry, O Lord. Pay attention to my prayer. I am counting on the Lord; yes, I am counting on him. I have put my hope in his word.” Psalms 130:1-5 NLT

The Psalms help me to preserve. And remind me where my hope is.

How joyful are those who fear the Lord-all who follow his ways!” Psalms 128:1 NLT

Dear Father, thank you for your faithfulness. For hearing my prayers. Thank you that you are with me. My joy is found in You. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Psalms 43:1-45:12

The world around us changes minute by minute. Each day I wonder if this is the day Christ will return for we know we are living in the “last days”.

It is easy to get distracted from our goal as Christ followers and throw our two cents into the mix with our selfish, human opinions. I have been reading friends posts on Facebook and I see fear, hopelessness and defeat. I see people claiming to have the solutions to all of our world’s problems but what we forget as Christians is that this world is not our home. This world will continue to decline and the speed at which this will happen will continue to increase like a train derailed. We are not called or promised to have an easy life but we are promised that the Lord will never leave us or forsake us.

Here, Paul reminds us to pray for those people whom we may not always agree with; people in position of authority or government. We don’t know any of their hearts. We do know that the Lord works all things according to His greater plan.

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2: 1-4

Our prayers for those in high positions should not be out of selfish ambition but instead desire to bring God the glory and praise he is due. God’s plan is rarely clear to us as we are in the process of trial, persecution, pain or confusion but He is always with us. It’s those experiences that turn hearts to him. It is not our personal power that solves the problems or turns a heart but the Holy Spirit. But we are told our prayers are “good and pleasing in the sight of our God our Savior”.

Like in the days of the Psalmist, we need to remember that it is the Holy Spirit working in and through us to accomplish the will of the Father. He will never leave us and his plans will always prosper.

“O God, we have heard with our ears,
our fathers have told us,
what deeds you performed in their days,
in the days of old:
you with your own hand drove out the nations,
but them you planted;
you afflicted the peoples,
but them you set free;
for not by their own sword did they win the land,
nor did their own arm save them,
but your right hand and your arm,
and the light of your face,
for you delighted in them.” Psalm 44: 1-3

Thank you, Lord for the opportunity and privilege to come before with our prayers of request, thanksgiving and intercession. Help us to be diligent in praying not only for those who are easy to pray for but also those whom we disagree with. Help us to seek your will and in all things bring you glory. Amen.

Kateredding

From the archives. Originally published June 27, 2016.

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