“I, DANIEL, OBSERVED IN THE BOOKS THE NUMBER OF THE YEARS WHICH WAS REVEALED AS THE WORD OF THE LORD TO JEREMIAH THE PROPHET FOR THE COMPLETION OF THE DESOLATIONS OF JERUSALEM, NAMELY, SEVENTY YEARS. SO I GAVE MY ATTENTION TO THE LORD GOD TO SEEK HIM BY PRAYER AND SUPPLICATIONS” (DAN. 9:2-3).
God’s sovereignty doesn’t eliminate the need for prayer.
Have you ever wondered if it’s biblical to pray for things that God has already promised in His Word to do? Is it proper to pray, say, for the salvation of sinners, knowing that God will redeem all the elect anyway, or for Christ’s return, knowing that it is a sure thing? Daniel gives us a clear answer.
God prophesied through Jeremiah that the Babylonian Captivity would last seventy years (Jer. 25:11-12). When Daniel read that prophecy, he realized that the time was near for his people to return to their homeland. That inspired him to pray fervently.
In Daniel 9:19 he cries out, “O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Thine own sake, O my God, do not delay.” He was in tune with God’s Word and understood that somehow his prayers were part of God’s plan.
The exact relationship between God’s sovereignty and our prayers is a mystery, but it is clear that somehow God’s Word and our prayers are co-laborers in achieving God’s will.
Like Daniel, you and I live in a time when many of God’s promises seem near to fulfillment. Never before have world events pointed so dramatically to the nearness of the return of our Lord. Consequently, this is not the time for complacency or over-enthusiastic speculation. It is the time for careful Bible study and fervent prayer.
Suggestions for Prayer
- Thank God for His faithfulness and the sure promises of His Word.
- Ask Him for spiritual wisdom and insight to discern His will and then live accordingly.
For Further Study
- Jeremiah 24:1—25:13 gives some background to Judah’s captivity in Babylon. After reading those verses, answer these questions:
- To what kind of fruit did God liken Judah?
- What did God say would happen to King Zedekiah?
- What warning did the prophets give to Judah?
- What was Judah’s response?
- How would God deal with Babylon?
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, http://www.crossway.com.