“So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition in and fasting and in sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed:”
Read Daniel’s prayer in Daniel 9:1-21
***Leave at least five minutes at the end to close in prayer***
This is everyone’s problem
We’ve discussed the power of prayer of prayer and how we can be effective in our prayer life. This study looks at a very practical aspect of prayer – praying for our church. We know of Daniel’s stand for righteousness even as a youth and away from his family in a foreign land. If there was anyone who had a right to say “this isn’t my problem, everyone else sinned” it was Daniel. But as Daniel prays, he includes himself with the rest of nation that was under God’s judgment.
There are problems in every church. Some are small, some are very large. Sometimes the problems are quite clear, other times they are hidden; nevertheless, they are real. The problems in our church are our problems just as much as they are anyone else’s. We may not have been the one who sinned but it affects the vitality of our church. And we need to ask God for His forgiveness even though we may not be the guilty party – just as Daniel was not the one at fault during his time of confession.
Daniel’s prayer can be broken into 4 parts that are applicable for any believer to pray as well.
Realize the sin – verses 4-6
- Wicked and rebelled
- Turned away from commands and laws
- Not listened
React to God’s righteousness – verses 7-11
Recognize the punishment – verses 11-14
- The church does not face the same punishment that Israel did but just because we are in an era of grace does not mean we go un-judged. Look at the penalties about which Christ warns the churches of Revelation 2-3.
Request action by God – verses 15-19
- Restoration request – Daniel recognizes that God is still in control of the situation and that He can still forgive and restore Israel
- Response request – Daniel asks that God would look, listen, act, and not delay.
Daniel requested rapid action by God and he gets it! While he is still praying Gabriel visits him. Gabriel tells him that “as soon as you began to pray, an answer was given.” Gabriel goes on to give Daniel one of the most marvelous prophecies of the Bible. 1 John 1:9 tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” The passage is in reference to salvation but it applies here as well. If we recognize our sins and ask God to forgive and restore us, he will respond.
What does your church need to repent of? (gossip, lack of faith, failure to support God’s leaders, poor stewardship of time, talent, & treasure, unwillingness to live out the Great Commission, etc.)
What can we expect God’s response to be?
As a group or individually spend time praying for your church, confessing the problems you know, recognizing there are probably ones you don’t know, and asking God restore your church to a proper relationship with Him.