Presence is key to intercession

When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open towards Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. -Daniel 6:10 ESVUK

God has been impressing upon my heart about the necessity of being in his presence. Yes, I understand his presence is always with us. However, I truly believe God desires for us to seek for his tangible presence Spending time in his presence is key to proper intercession.

Daniel is a great example of seeking and residing in the presence of God. Daniel was well known across the land of Persia. He had “an excellent spirit and was found faithful, without error or fault” (see Daniel 6:3-4). His holy life rubbed the wrong way against the other high officials and satraps of the day. Persia was not known for their holiness or goodness. Idolatry was very prevalent. So the other officials were jealous and upset because Daniel had such a good reputation.

We all grew up with the story of Daniel and the lion’s den. The officials conned Darius into signing a decree to not pray to any other gods but theirs. Despite this, Daniel went to his house and got on his knees three times daily, praying and giving thanks as he had always done before (Daniel 6:10). Please not that Daniel as 80 years old at this point. He did not give up or give in because of his age!

The officials of course caught Daniel praying and because of the decree Darius signed, Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den.

Daniel kept seeking God and his presence regardless of his responsibilities and age. He sought God for himself and for his people. Because Daniel was faithful in seeking God’s presence, God rewarded him by filling the lion’s den with his presence. He even sent an angel to shut the mouths of the lions!

The threat of the lion’s den did not deter Daniel from seeking God. So often, we come up with excuses as to why we don’t have the time or can’t spend time with God on a daily basis. Some Christians around the world suffer greatly because they pray and declare Jesus as Lord. They pray in secret, hide the word in their hearts, etc. Christianity is growing rapidly in places where persecution is rampant. However, here in our Western cultures, we are lulled to sleep. We don’t seem to value God’s presence as much as we value pleasing other people and moving up the ladder to get more money and prestige. If we were told we were going to be thrown into a lion’s den or killed for our faith, how many of us would truly be willing to stand up for Jesus and declare him as Lord by our actions, words, and prayers?

Most of us would have panicked if we were sent to the lion’s den. Daniel was calm (or at least it seems). He had faith that no matter what happened in that lion’s den, God was taking care of him. God’s presence was with him and shown through him.

Of course, we know that Daniel is saved from the lions. Darius was thrilled and relieved. He felt so bad he had sent him into the den that he couldn’t sleep the night before. When Darius saw that God had truly saved Daniel, he made a new decree that everyone was to call on and worship the living God. What a testimony of God’s faithfulness and Daniel’s obedience!

Daniel’s prayers in seeking God made a massive difference to Israel. In chapter 9, Daniel confesses the sin of himself and the nation. When we come into the presence of God, we will be shown what is keeping us, our nations, family, work, and churches from God. Sin has no place in God’s presence!

Daniel spends time confessing the sins of disobedience and idolatry which resulted Israel being held in captivity (see Daniel 9:1-19). Because Daniel spent time in the presence, he knew God’s heart and knew what the nation had done wrong. Daniel confessed not because he committed these sins, but because he was a part of a nation that did.

Gabriel then comes into the picture and shows Daniel visions beyond his or our own understanding about the nation of Israel and the end times. A lot of the prophecies Daniel saw and recorded have been fulfilled and continue to be.

Daniel was truly a man that God trusted. God delivered the Israelites from Persia’s hand to return back to their home. God intervened and saved Daniel from death. God showed Daniel amazing visions. God is willing to speak to those who are willing to stop, listen, and spend time in his presence.

We have to be intentional in seeking God’s presence on a daily basis. If we want to know God’s heart, we need to be in his presence. Intercession is not about spouting off a shopping list of prayer concerns, it is about sharing the heart of God on behalf of others. The more time we spend praying and seeking the presence of God, the more our hearts and lives will be changed. We will be known as having “an excellent spirit” in us. That spirit will be the Holy Spirit. We will know what to pray for those we are praying for. We know the heart of God. We will be interceding on other’s behalf, including our nation, the world, etc. because of love, not duty.

I want my prayer life to be like Daniel’s, one which seeks after God’s presence and heart every day and one that intercedes on behalf of those I know and love. Do you?

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