Move Heaven. Change Nations.

It must have seemed as if his life was over.

At the age of fifteen, swept up in the aftermath of his country’s demise, in a series of cruel blows, he was enslaved, deported eight hundred miles — never to see his homeland again, stripped of his identity, and given a strange and foreign name.  Severed from his past and with every reason to dwell in bitterness against God and man, the Old Testament prophet Daniel became a pillar of faithfulness, a man of great influence in his land of captivity, and an instrument of God in the restoration of Israel.

In The Daniel Prayer, Anne Graham Lotz examines the prayer life of the prophet who came to God desperate and saw heaven moved and nations changed.  His model prayer, found in Daniel 9:1-23 was far removed from the “socially conditioned small-talk” that often passes for prayer, penetrating heaven with what Eugene Peterson would call “reversed thunder,” by praying God’s own promises back to Him.

Based on her own life-long commitment to fervent prayer, Anne reassures her readers that our own personal Daniel prayers do not have to be twenty-three verses long; they don’t have to be eloquent, or even memorable.  She stresses the importance of privacy in our prayer life, yielding the freedom to pray fervently, with sincerity, and in complete humility.  Her mother, Ruth Bell Graham, emphasized the importance of praying “on the hoof,” which is reassuring for me in these mini-van years.

I especially appreciated Anne’s unique way of expressing herself  as she emphasized the importance of worship in all of our prayers.  “Make the time to center down on who God is,” she exhorts.  “Centering down” on God’s faithfulness, His righteousness, His goodness, and His power will put to rest any slight suspicion that God may be holding out us — or that He might want anything other than what’s best for His children.

The essence of Daniel’s prayer was a plea for God to be glorified once again through His own people.  Daniel was praying from a promise that he had read in the Scriptures that in seventy years God would make good on His promises to restore His people — both spiritually and geographically.

Picture Daniel reading the promise, and then re-reading it.

Picture the firmness of resolve as it flooded his face and his heart that no matter whether anyone else in the world was praying for this deliverance that God had promised — HE WOULD!

On his face before God, confessing his own sin and the sin of the nation, Daniel pleaded with God for restoration and renewed favor.  In Anne’s words, Daniel prayed “with wet eyes, bent knees, and a broken heart.”  The outcome was not a legalistic exercise in which Daniel worked to impress God and others with his pious behavior, but it was a prayer totally, exclusively centered on God.  It was specific, and it was centered on a promise that God had already made.  Daniel didn’t try to tell God how to fulfill the promise or demand to see the fruit of it, but, in his pleading, he put himself at God’s disposal to make the will of God become a reality.

The Daniel Prayer is a tutorial, based on the biblical example of Daniel’s faithful life. It is also a book-mentoring experience based on Anne Graham Lotz’s journey of prioritizing prayer in her own personal life and ministry.  With this double sowing of good seed, I have harvested a crop of wisdom that I hope to preserve and be nourished by:

  1.  Daniel’s faith was centered on the living God.  When Anne prays, she tries to think of specific attributes of God’s character that bear on her requests.  For instance, if she is praying for her children, she remembers that He”understands parental agony and heartbreak.”  When feeling hurt, she remembers that He was “wounded for her” and promises to “bind up the brokenhearted.”  Before even confessing her sins, she reminds herself that God is merciful and loves sinners.
  2.  Faced with the tyranny of the urgent and a never-ending do-list, it is easy to put prayer on the back burner.  Anne admits:  “If I waited until I had the time to draw aside and pray, I doubt I would ever pray.  So I have to make the time for private prayer.  To be honest, I’m afraid not to make the time.  I don’t want to miss out on the power that’s necessary to really help others.”  I’m just going to leave that quote right there and let it sink in . . . 
  3. There is a humility that comes to God empty, knowing that He owes us nothing.  If you ever have the idea that God owes you a yes, “maybe it’s time you smeared yourself with ashes.”
  4. Confession of sin will change your heart.  Anne compares it to a “spiritual angiogram” and has provided a list of some of the more subtle sins to initiate a season of conviction, confession, and cleansing in the lives of her readers.
  5. The use of my time demonstrates my priorities in large letters.  What is the reward for prayer?  Certainly it adds nothing to my bank account, to my blog, or to the beauty or cleanliness of my home.  What if the only reward for prayer is the high regard of Heaven?  Is this enough?

The Daniel Prayer is a call to prayer — specific prayer, prayer that perseveres, and prayer that is based in the faithful promises of God.

//

This book was provided by Zondervan through the BookLookBloggers program in exchange for my review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”Subscribe to get regular Bible studies and book reviews from Living Our Days delivered to your inbox.  Just enter your e-mail address in the box at the top of this page.

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Michele Morin

Michele Morin is a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for over 25 years, and their four children are growing up at an alarming rate. Michele loves hot tea and well-crafted sentences, poems that stop her in her tracks and days at the ocean with the whole family. She laments biblical illiteracy and advocates for the prudent use of “little minutes.” She blogs at Living Our Days, and you can connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

30 thoughts on “Move Heaven. Change Nations.”

  1. Oh Michelle may our God be once again glorified through His people – our nation.

    Thank you for sharing with us what you learned from this book. I love Anne Lotz.

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  2. I love Anne Graham-Lotz and get so much out of her books. I will definitely be getting this one.

    I love so much this phrase you used: “penetrating heaven with what Eugene Peterson would call “reversed thunder,” by praying God’s own promises back to Him.” Of course, I believe in praying scripture but somehow the turn of that phrase gets me excited!

    Thanks again, Michele, for sharing something that makes us think!

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  3. Sounds like a book that I need to read. I love my prayer time but am always interested in the topic and finding what has been helpful to others to go deeper and draw closer to the Lord, Michele. Thanks for sharing about Anne’s incredible read! I love her entire family. They’ve all served God so faithfully.

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  4. Michele, thanks for this review. If prayer connects me with God that is my deepest need even if what brought me there goes unanswered.

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  5. I love the sound of this book. It’s going on my “to read” list for certain. Thanks for posting this review, Michele.

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  6. Michele, Thank you so much for sharing this book review. I had recently heard about this book when watching a video of Anne speaking at a recent Pastor’s event in D.C., Watchman on the Wall, where she spoke eloquently and passionately about prayer, giving us glimpses into the subject of her book.

    As always, your book reviews are so informative. You really have a gift for writing them. I always learn so much and it wets my appetite to want to learn more from the book.

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  7. Michele,
    I love the thought of “reversed thunder” in praying God’s promises back to Him. Sometimes I need to proclaim them out loud which gives them a certain validity. God is not impressed by our eloquence and “praying on the hoof” condenses our prayers to the meat of it all. I love Anne…thanks for sharing this review of her book.
    Blessings,
    Bev

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    1. You’d love Eugene too (the “reversed thunder” author). Isn’t that Ruth Graham phrase just priceless? There are days when if I didn’t pray “on the hoof,” I’d barely make it!

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  8. Such a timely post, Michele. I’ve been hooked on Daniel ever since my Bible study sisters and I did a study on it a few years ago. Thank you for sharing this insight and wisdom. Stopping by from The Cozy Reading Spot!

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  9. A great review, Michele. I love the reminder of how our prayers do not have to be long and eloquent. All they need to be is God centered – how convicting. I need to make sure my prayers are God centered and not centered on me. Thank you for sharing this review with Thankful Thursdays.

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