Terry R Baughman is Lead Pastor for LifeChurch in Gilbert, AZ. See his complete bio at trbaughman.com
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Because of Your great Mercies
Heard on High
Terry R. Baughman
“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” (Daniel 9:18–19 NKJV).
Desperate times call for desperate prayers! Daniel interceded to God for the destruction of the City of Jerusalem and the nation. Not only was the city looted, torn apart, and burned, but the leadership had been either murdered or exiled to a foreign country. Daniel himself was taken as a prisoner and assigned duties in the palace of a pagan power. His times were desperate!
Daniel was committed to God and found great strength in daily prayers. In fact, it became his practice to open a window and pray toward Jerusalem three times each day. Though his prayers were personal and directed solely toward God others saw and noted his habit and his continual devotion to the Lord God of Israel. This was not a short term assignment or a singular event. Throughout the seventy years of exile in Babylon and Daniel’s lifetime he continually prayed for his people, the city, and for the restoration that was promised.
Daniel would never participate in the repatriation. He would not be among the thousands who eventually returned to rebuild Jerusalem. As an elderly man in exile he would stay in Babylon until his death, but he could always pray for God’s purposes to be fulfilled, and he did.
The content of Daniel’s prayer of repentance and plea for restoration was recorded in the Book of Daniel 9:4–19. He confessed the sins of his people as he personally identified with their failure and he prayed, “We have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets” (Daniel 9:5–6 NIV). He continued his lament, “We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, Lord, because we have sinned against you” (Daniel 9:8 NIV).
The disaster of judgment was deserved. The nations of Israel and Judah had forsaken the Commandments and sinned against the Lord of the Covenant. Daniel offered no excuses or made any attempt to justify their sin. He simply confessed to the national failure to follow after God and repented of their sins that had resulted in their destruction. He admitted, “The Lord our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him” (Daniel 9:14 NIV).
Daniel made an appeal to God based on His righteousness and the reputation of His character. He addressed Him as the, “Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day” (Daniel 9:15 NIV). He reminded the Lord of His reputation among the nations and the righteous acts of the past. The name of the Lord was upon the City of Jerusalem and His reputation was at stake. He petitioned, “In keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill” (Daniel 9:16 NIV).
Daniel’s prayer was not based on anything he or his people deserved, but he solely appealed to the mercies of God. He prayed, “Because of your great mercy. Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name” (Daniel 9:18–19 NIV).
We can pray with confidence because of His great mercy.
“We know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:15).