Making it a WE Not THEM Prayer

My heart is heavy as I read the news about the shooting in Orlando and the division of my nation over who should be the next president.  We often feel helpless. What can we do?  Will things ever get better?   But Daniel reminds us that we aren’t helpless, we can pray.

Currently the ladies on my team are going through Beth Moore’s Daniel study together.  In week nine of the study, Daniel had been studying the scriptures and discovered the prophecy of Jeremiah concerning the exiles.  These words brought Daniel to his knees.  Isn’t that how it should be?  God’s word should bring us to our knees.

Daniel prayed and made supplication to the Lord.  Daniel’s prayer was one of confession and a plea to God for mercy.  As Daniel prays uses alot of we’s and us’s.   We have sinned.  We need forgiveness.   We have rebelled.  

Why “we”?  What did Daniel have to confess? Isn’t he the one who purposed in his heart to serve God (Daniel one)  Isn’t he the one who prayed to God three times a day even when it resulted in a night in the lion’s den? (Daniel 6) So what did he have to confess?  Beth Moore said this

I think Daniel could count himself among the transgressors of Israel because he was wise enough to know what was in him…even if it hadn’t found its way out of him. (p.184)

Daniel recognized that we are all sinners.  He also recognized that God was a covenant keeping God who was merciful and forgiving. And he was going to ask God for that mercy and forgiveness. 

 Daniel lived an upright life standing up to many kings and never compromising.  He also prayed for forgiveness for him and his people.   He saw visions of the future and longed for his people Israel to be right with God.  We live in a world where we often view sin as an individual thing.  He or she did it.  He or she should take care of it.   Is this really true?   I know we are all accountable before God for what we have done or not done.  I know we each have to pray that prayer ourselves.  But what if my prayer could start a new beginning?  What if my prayer of confession not only for me but for those around me started a stirring of God’s spirit?   What if instead of being a pharisee and judging those around me, I get down on my knees and pray for the salvation of me and my people.  What if I realize that those around me are the people God has for me whether I like it or not?  What would happen then?   What if I stopped pointing fingers and instead lifted up myself and others to the mercy of the God of heaven?  What if?

So today I am praying a We not Them prayer.  I am praying for change in me and those around me.  I am asking God to forgive us and make us new.

My Prayer: 

Dear God of the nations who holds all things in His hand.  We praise you and lift up your name.  From the words of the Bible we see your faithfulness to your people.  

We also see that you are a just God who punishes sin.  In your mercy, You sent Jesus to provide a way out of the sin in our lives.  Today, God, we pray for mercy and forgiveness.  “God you have punished us  less than our sins deserve.”(Ezra 9:13)  

We have forgotten how to value people made in your image whether born or unborn.  We spread hate instead of love.  We have sought comfort in people and things  instead of in the God of all comfort.  We have become comfortable in our complacency and are self seeking. We fail to see the hurting around us. Our hearts are hard.  Forgive us. 

We fear instead of trust- forgetting that you remove and raise up leaders. (Daniel 2:21) We don’t reach out to those who are different than us because of race or religion.  We worry when we should pray.  So today give us a heart for you-one that will seek you daily, hourly in earnest prayer. 

“We do not make requests of you because we are righteous but because of your great mercy.  O Lord, listen!  O Lord, forgive!  O Lord, hear and act!” (Daniel 9:18b,19a) Work in us and change our hearts.      We pray in the name of Jesus, Amen”

What is your prayer today?  (Part of this post first appeared here at TJ’s Musing  in A Prayer Like Daniel and Ezra.)