‘But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself in this way.’ (v8) Daniel 1:1–17
Discovering I couldn’t have my own children was devastating. It drove me to prayer. Yet, it was a very self-interested prayer – God, sort out my problems! He responded and indicated a range of issues across my life that required my attention. But, still no conception. I had to conceive that God is no slot machine to service my felt needs.
As we enter nine days of prayer for God’s will on earth, like Daniel we must fix our gaze on God and with uninterrupted intent pray not merely for our preferred needs, but for the grace of God throughout God’s world.
Fasting and sackcloth sound extreme, yet only if done to impress an audience. Daniel was intent on seeing the promises of God, revealed in the prophecy of Jeremiah, realised. It’s strange the lengths we will go to secure something when we really want it. All the intrusive medical tests around fertility I went through when I might just have trusted in God’s provision.
As we start our prayer today, let’s focus our attention on God. Let’s set aside distractions and acknowledge the self-interest that too often motivates our prayer. Let’s pause and simply pray for a world in need of God. Whenever I pray I always close with the words, ‘Have mercy on us and the whole world; save us and the whole world’. Today let’s together lift a fractured world to God for His blessing.
Related Scripture to Consider: Jer. 29:1–23; Psa. 33; Acts 17:22–32; Matt. 6:9–13.
An Action to Take: Ensure you always include a prayer for the world in which we live whenever you pray.
A Prayer to Make: ‘Lord, You lived and died for everyone in our world. Today, hear my prayer for all who are vulnerable and be their strong defence. We pray with compassion for them every day. Amen.’
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