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  • Writer's pictureJason Garcia

Reading & Praying

"...I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed..." (Dan. 9:2-4).

What was Daniel's response to reading Scripture? Prayer.

Though in captivity, he had access to a scroll of Jeremiah, and reading the words of what we call Jer. 25:11 or 29:10, and understanding why he and his people were in captivity, he begins to pray.

Notice he confesses sin: "We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings..." (Dan. 9:5-6).

Scripture still indicts us today doesn't it? The Word of God cuts to the heart just as it was designed to do (Heb. 4:12; Acts 2:37-38). The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin (Jn. 16:8), and Daniel responds to this indictment as if to say, "Yes! It's all true! Everything You said about us is exactly right!" How often do we hear the Word of God--from the pulpit, in Bible Class, in our homes--and we resist the Sword of the Spirit? (Eph. 6:17; Acts 7:51) We start to make excuses. We start to compare ourselves to others--"Well at least I'm not as bad as so-and-so..."

Maybe not outright, maybe we don't vocalize our protest, but we resist in our hearts. “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion” (Heb. 3:15). We "kick against the goads" of the Truth--about ourselves, about God, His purposes, His Will--until our conscience is numb to every loving pang God would use (1 Tim. 4:2).

Daniel, an inspired prophet, heard the voice of God through Jeremiah's words (written ca. one hundred years before), and yielded.

It's very difficult to read Scripture, and not desire to pray afterwords. Each time you open the Book, you'll be reminded of...

  1. Your own sin, and you're inability to remove the guilt it incurs...

  2. God's love for you, and the sacrifice of His Son to afford you mercy...

  3. The wonderful promises He's made to those who remain faithful til death...

  4. All the ways that you come up short in failing to do what you ought to do...

These things and so many others are revealed in our hearts and minds, and the honest, and humble are compelled to speak to God in response to what He has said to us (Lk. 18:13-14).

If you're not praying as you ought to pray, maybe the issue is a lack of discipline and willpower. But wouldn't these problems be greatly mitigated or even eliminated by spending more time reading the Bible? Could it be you're not praying as you should because you're not studying the Word of God as you should?

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Jan 28

🙂 I love your posts! So encouraging to me. Keep up the good work

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