This sermon was based on Daniel 9:1-19.
Daniel’s Prayer for His People
1In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, by descent a Mede, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans— 2in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.
3Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. 4I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 5we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. 6We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. 7To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame, as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you. 8To us, O Lord, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you. 9To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him 10and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God by walking in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. 11All Israel has transgressed your law and turned aside, refusing to obey your voice. And the curse and oath that are written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out upon us, because we have sinned against him. 12He has confirmed his words, which he spoke against us and against our rulers who ruled us, by bringing upon us a great calamity. For under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what has been done against Jerusalem. 13As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us; yet we have not entreated the favor of the Lord our God, turning from our iniquities and gaining insight by your truth. 14Therefore the Lord has kept ready the calamity and has brought it upon us, for the Lord our God is righteous in all the works that he has done, and we have not obeyed his voice. 15And now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and have made a name for yourself, as at this day, we have sinned, we have done wickedly.
16“O Lord, according to all your righteous acts, let your anger and your wrath turn away from your city Jerusalem, your holy hill, because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people have become a byword among all who are around us. 17Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate. 18O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. 19O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.”
What is Intercession?
- Intercession is acting or intervening on behalf of another.
- Daniel sees the state of his people — broken and lost – and he stands before the Lord to act on their behalf: Confessing their sin; Praying that the Lord will bring the exile to an end; Ultimately Daniel is praying for their restoration
- Daniel was standing up on behalf of those that couldn’t or wouldn’t. That is intercession.
Why is it Needed?
- Our world is broken. There is war, climate change, all sorts of prejudice, injustice, exploitation, corruption. There’s people who are broken and lost. We need to see our world restored. Not to an earlier simpler time, but to what it was intended to be.
- Like Daniel, as an exile people we have 3 choices, and what goes in from the world around us will determine which of them we choose.
- The three choices we have are: to hide in our bunkers – become protectionist, the chief motivation is fear, Christians in a bunker have forgotten their mission: to assimilate – to blend in and become unrecognisable, the chief motivation is to be accepted, Christians who assimilate have forgotten their identity: to be faithful, to chose to love the people around us but stand apart, to stand int he gap, the chief motivation is love for God and a desire to see his kingdom come.
How do We do it?
- Jesus is the announcement and the coming of the kingdom of God — the one through whom we can be fully restored.
- Jesus stood between two worlds. He stood in the gap between mankind and God, but did so on the cross, taking all the sin and shame that was ours upon himself.
- We were so much worse than we could ever have imagined. Yet despite this, we are loved more than we could ever have dared to believe. Once this truth takes root and we allow it to shape us and our thinking, we can choose to faithfully stand in the gap ourselves.