One of history's all time great intercessors is the prophet Daniel, who, through his systematic devotion to prayer and his labors of fasting and intercession for his people literally changed the course of history and predicted with pin point accuracy the eventual coming of “The King” (Jesus) and His Kingdom.
One principle that Daniel clearly understood was that when there is declaration from heaven there needs to be reciprical response on earth. This principle was clearly demonstated in Daniel's life when, through the course of his study he found one of his contemporary's prophetic promises. Daniel himself was in the midst of a foreign people in a foreign land where they had settled, built homes, planted gardens and started families, having been there about 70 years. But when he discovered the words of prophet Jeremiah, stating that there was going to be a major change regarding his people, describing what looked like a very unlikely return to their homeland, his response is a lesson to us today.
The promise he found is recorded in Jeremiah 29:10-14: “ For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.”
We are delighted that our God is a God who speaks and a God who offers us wonderful promises. But notice Daniels response to the discovery of such an amazing and specific promise.
“In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus... I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
“Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. And I prayed to theLord my God,” Daniel 9:1-4
The next 12 verses could be the basis of an amazing study of prayer, supplication, confession and intercessory repentance, as Daniel poured out his soul to the Lord on behalf of his people, but space will not allow for all that can be extracted from this inlightening section of Scripture.
He then ends with these words in verses 17-19:
“Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and for the Lord’s sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate. O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”
This is what Daniel knew. One of the profound mysteries of the Kingdom of God is that God has limited His intervention into human affairs to a very amazing trigger—He waits for us to invite Him to do so. We must discover that there are things we cannot do without God and that He will not do without us. We must understand that while there are an abunance of amazing and precious promises God has offered to us, the release of those promises is connected to our petition and intercession for Him to do what He promised.
In other words, if we want to see a fulfillment of God's promises in our lives, we need to recognize the key roll hearing and then praying has for Kingdom advancement. Jesus said it in His prayer instructions in Matthew 6:9-10, where He states: “In this manner, therefore, pray: ... Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
What has God promised? One definition of effective prayer that Daniel knew is that prayer is simply asking God to do what He promised he would.
Prayer for the Body of Christ
Examining the Scriptures and the historic facts like Daniel did should provoke us to look to the future with a faith-filled focus and a confident expectation. God has given to us many glorious promises.
God has declared that He will have a glorious end-time Church in the Earth. God will have a latter House that will be more glorious than the former. God will cause His glory to cover the Earth as the waters cover the sea. God will raise up the fallen tabernacle of David and cause the ends of the Earth to come to the glory of its rising. Great boldness, faith, and optimism should arise in the hearts of believers when we realize we are part of an unstoppable Kingdom and have inherited a grand prophetic mission in our generation, according to the Scriptures and in accordance with God’s inexorable purposes. Our part is to hear His promises and then to pray them in. Through our prayers, petitions and intercession we co-operate with God to see it come to pass.