"Praying as If Your Life Depends Upon It"
Date: 25 October, 2015
Text: Daniel 2:14-30
Title: Praying as if your life depends upon it.
Going out in a sail boat with a deacon on a river that was about a mile accross. Tipping, thinking I had a drowned a deacon. First words out of my mouth after we tipped, "Mr. Hassman, can we pray?"
Life and death praying is not liturgical. It is not cold and formal. It is desparate and earnest.
Daniel and his three friends would have several opportunities for praying as if their lives depended upon it (and it did.) Our text about the king's dream, the fiery furnace, and the lion's den.
10 The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king’s matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean.
11 And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.
12 For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.
13 And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.
14 ¶ Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king’s guard, which was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon:
15 He answered and said to Arioch the king’s captain, Why is the decree so hasty from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel.
Daniel and his friends are going to enter into a prayer battle that is life and death.
Are you prepared for this kind of praying? There are multitudes of less serious prayer times. But, what about a real emergency that is a matter of life and death.
We need to be prepared to pray as if our life depends upon it!
What allowed Daniel and his friends to suceed in prayer when it was a matter of life and death?
I. They knew that God answers prayer.
16 Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would shew the king the interpretation.
exp. No wonder Daniel was prepared to face the lion's den. He has already faced the lion in his den. Daniel is not a liar. He wasn't JUST trying to buy time. He asks for time because GOD IS GOING TO TELL THE KING THE ANSWER TO HIS QUESTION.
ill. Like Elijah challenging the prophets of Baal to a duel because he knew that God would ANSWER WITH FIRE.
ill. Like Mary saying to the servants at the wedding feast, "Whatsoever he saith to you do it." She knew that Jesus was going to meet the need.
ill. Hudson Taylor decided to live in dependence upon God alone BEFORE GOING TO CHINA - so that when he faced life and death needs in China, he would be prepared by depending upon God alone! He saw God answer prayer in ways that MARVELOUSLY STRENGTHENED HIS FAITH AND PREPARED HIM FOR FUTURE NEEDS.
app: How confident are you in God's ability to answer prayer? What testimony can you share from your own life of answers to prayer? If you have not seen Him work through prayer, how will you be ready to see Him work when your really need Him to intervene.
II. They were men of prayer.
17 Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions:
exp. There is nothing more refreshing when a prayer burden comes than having a group of companions who know how to pray. These men were seasoned prayer warriors (from their youth.)
note: Daniel and they as teenagers - taken captive by the King of Babylon.... purposed in their hearts that they would not defile themselves with meat and drink offered to idols. They ate porridge instead.
Daniel 1: 15 And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat.
16 Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.
17 ¶ As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.
exp. God was preparing them for life and death praying. They were men who were disciplined in their walk with God.
ill. Joking with the guy at the car wash, if you guys would work out, you guys could get big like me. I don't have their physique because I haven't disciplined myself to it.
app. If you have no prayer life, your praying muscles aren't ready to lift big weights....unless God in His grace helps you. However, it would be better to get disciplined in your walk with God and build up your prayer life. THEY WERE READY TO GO BECAUSE THEY WERE MEN OF PRAYER.
III. They knew that answered prayer is a product of mercy.
18 That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven
quote: "Nothing in my hand's I bring but simply to thy cross I cling."
question: Why should God answer your prayers?
· Does He owe you ANYTHING?
· Is He your servant?
· Does he need your help knowing what He should do?
ill. Jesus told about a pharisee and a publican.
Luke 18: 10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
exp. The publican (tax collector) got it right. "God be merciful."
app. What is the focus of your prayer? Is it focused on God's mercy or reasons of the flesh?
Daniel and his friends didn't plead about "their right to life" "God's need for them." They just cried out to God for mercy.
IV. They understood the power of God.
...concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.
ill. The better known names for these three friends, is Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Can you hear them saying, "You want us to pray for what? That God will tell us a dream that a man had which was shared with no one?"
question: How do you respond to the impossible?
ill. Israel - cliffs around them, sea in front of them, Pharoah behind them.
Exodus 14: 12 Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.
13 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.
14 The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.
question: Are you like Moses or the children of Israel?
app. If it was possible, why would you need God? Mark 10:27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.
Ps 147:4 He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.
Mt 10:30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
song: "I don't know how God hangs the world on nothing, or how He keeps the planets each in place, I cannot count the sands upon the seashore, nor can I count the stars that float in space. But God can do what seems impossible, God controls eternity, my mind can never comprehend it, But, God in Heaven died for me."
V. They were committed to praying until they received it.
19 Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision.
exp. Perhaps Daniel is sleeping. I don't think so. It would be difficult to sleep with such a burden on his mind, it is more likely that he was praying. God met His servant on His knees!
ill. Jesus knew all night prayer meetings. Lu 6:12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
note: The next day was an important day. 13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;
ill. Reading "How they Prayed" vol. 2. These men rose at 4-6 AM and spent 2-3 hours in prayer. These men weren't self righteous men who were trying to earn their salvation through misery. They were men who loved their time with Jesus and knew that they needed Him in their day.
app. How will God meet you if you aren't on your knees? How serious are you about getting the answer to your request?
VI. They were quick to bless God for the answer.
Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
20 Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:
21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:
22 He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.
23 I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.
question: Would God want to answer prayer for a thankless people?
ill. The 10 lepers - Luke 17:12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: 13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. 14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. 17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? 18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. 19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.
exp. His faith made him whole - (salvation?) he got more than the others - because he had the grace to say, "Thank you." He understood His unworthiness to receive something so precious.
app. We ought to acknowledge when God does something for us! It seems logical to think that He will do more for those who appreciate WHAT HE HAS ALREADY DONE!
VII. They were ready messengers for God.
24 ¶ Therefore Daniel went in unto Arioch, whom the king had ordained to destroy the wise men of Babylon: he went and said thus unto him; Destroy not the wise men of Babylon: bring me in before the king, and I will shew unto the king the interpretation.
25 Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste, and said thus unto him, I have found a man of the captives of Judah, that will make known unto the king the interpretation.
26 The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof?
exp. Daniel shows compassion for all who were in the same circumstance as themselves. He rushes to save their lives. BUT, he also is the chosen messenger of God to a proud king whom God would have to be humbled.
note: This answer to prayer also had a vital responsability connected with it. Daniel is going to "risk his life" to take a tough message to the king because God in His grace had so answered prayer.
ill. Katie publicly thanking God for helping Mac, because she told God she would do that if God would answer her prayer.
app. Those who see God answer prayer ought to accept any responsability that God gives with the answer. Certainly they ought to take His message to a lost world.
VIII. They refused to let men get glory for what God alone could do.
27 Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king;
28 But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these;
29 As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what shall come to pass.
exp. Daniel was not going to let the smallest idea of "natural coincidence" enter into this story of "divine Providence."
ill. Like Elijah - pouring gallons and gallons of water over the sacrifice lest someone give glory to man for what God alone could do.
app. Don't let God's glorious answer be smeared by an account which attributes natural causes to what God has supernaturally done. (We don't need to make up false stories for God's glory as that will do more harm than good.But, when God does something, we need to be careful that HE GETS ALL THE GLORY.)
IX. They were not better men and they knew it.
30 But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart.
exp. God was going to speak through Daniel because of His own plan.
note: We say, "Daniel and his friends were great prayer warriors and Godly men." Daniel would protest that they were not great men - REVEALING TO US THAT THEY WERE HUMBLE MEN whom our GREAT GOD could use.
note: There are no "high qualifications" to becoming great in prayer. But, you must have the right view of your own UNWORTHINESS.
Conclusion: Are you ready to pray as if your life depends upon it? Daniel and his friends would have several opportunities to pray in life and death situations.
1.) Are you experiencing answer to prayer?
2.) Are you a praying person?
3.) Is it mercy you are expecting?
4.) Do you believe God is able?
5.) Are you willing to pray it through?
6.) Are you praising God for answers?
7.) Are you fulfilling the obligations of his answers?
8.) Do you refuse to gloryify self and only glorify God?
9.) Do you understand your unworthiness of His answers?