Day Four: Prevailing in Prayer
Several years ago in my ministry, I uncovered a full-time staff person who was simultaneously working on another job. When I confronted her with it, she became irate, accused me of lying, insisted she was entitled to supplement her income, and appealed over my head to the ministry’s board of directors. After hearing her thoroughly state her case, the board unanimously recommended that she be terminated.
Suddenly I was left with a ministry that was facing four major national and international initiatives within the next nine months but without the directors who would have helped me accomplish them. To say I prayed is an understatement. I was launched into that stratosphere of faith where God—and God alone—was my refuge and strength. I was wholly centered on Him, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that if He did not help me, I would not be helped and my ministry would collapse.
Within twenty-four hours God sent His messenger to me with an immediate answer. The messenger was the husband of one of my board members. I was attending a meeting that just “happened” to have been previously scheduled for the day after I had learned of the mass exodus of directors from my ministry. My board member and her husband, Vicki and Ray Bentley, were also among others at the meeting. The three of us had just finished discussing my situation when we walked from lunch to the next conference seminar.
As we walked through the hotel corridor, they told me they had just been to Mount Vernon, the home place of President Washington. My head was spinning, and I thought, “What does that have to do with the situation I’m in?” But I listened. Ray went on to say that he loved George Washington and that one thing he had learned was that he should never have won the Revolutionary War. But he did win because God had brought him great generals who had helped him. Then Ray stopped me, put his hands on my shoulders so that I had to look him directly in the eye, and delivered the initial answer to my prayer. “Anne, God will bring you generals.”
Deep in my heart, the burden was lifted. I knew God had heard my prayer and would bring me through. I assure you that I maintained a position of prayer in my heart while I continued to wait for the specific answers, but God’s peace that defies all practical logic flooded my heart and never left. I was greatly encouraged by the “insight and understanding” that God had heard my prayer and would indeed bring me through.
Immediately Encouraged by The Affirmation
Daniel too knew God would see him through. The very fact that Gabriel had been sent by God to give Daniel a message must have immediately relieved the burden that weighed so heavily on Daniel’s heart. Until that moment, Daniel would not have known for sure if he had interpreted Jeremiah’s prophecy accurately. He would not have known for sure if he had been praying appropriately. He would not have known without a doubt if anyone was listening or caring or heeding or moving in response to his prayer.
So not only must Gabriel’s message have relieved Daniel’s burden as it conveyed that God had heard, but it affirmed Daniel personally when Gabriel revealed, “Daniel . . . you are highly esteemed” (9:22–23). How those five words must have thrilled him. To know that God not only noticed Daniel, but that He knew Daniel by name. To know that God not only was moved by Daniel’s prayer, but that the God of the Universe—the Almighty Creator—the Jehovah of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob— the great I AM of Moses—the living God—held him in high esteem. What an amazing revelation for an old man, isolated in an upstairs room, enslaved in a foreign land, who had been pouring out his heart as he interceded with God for his nation and his people.
This affirmation is something for you and me to wrap our hearts and minds around as we consider praying the Daniel Prayer. If there was no other reward for prayer than earning Heaven’s high regard, wouldn’t that be enough? You and I are to live for God’s glory and His pleasure. Nothing more and nothing less. It’s possible to be despised by the world while at the very same time to be held in high esteem in Heaven. The opposite of that is also true. It’s possible to be held in high esteem on earth while being of no consequence at all in Heaven. Think about it. Which are you?
If you enter into the Daniel Prayer, seeking to move Heaven and change nations, you will be a person who is highly esteemed by God. But God will also bring into your life visible people who will affirm you and bless you. As I went through the months of turmoil and tumult in my ministry, God poured out His blessing on the rest of my ministry staff who rallied around me with prayer, love, and hard work. Our initiatives were all completed with excellence, to the glory of God! And my board of directors stood by with strong words of exhortation, encouragement, and unwavering support. One by one, God brought me His generals. New staff members who were not only incredibly qualified, but also had humble, servants’ hearts. My ministry thrived, and continues to thrive as we remain focused on Him, filled with His Spirit, and fired up to do the work He assigns us.
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