Sunday, November 29, 2015

When Prayer is Forbidden!

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At daybreak the king got up and ran to the pit.  He was anxious and shouted, “Daniel, you were faithful and served your God. Was he able to save you from the lions?”  Daniel answered, “Your Majesty, I hope you live forever!

My God knew that I was innocent, and he sent an angel to keep the lions from eating me. Your Majesty, I have never done anything to hurt you.”  The king was relieved to hear Daniel's voice, and he gave orders for him to be taken out of the pit. Daniel's faith in his God had kept him from being harmed.   And the king ordered the men who had brought charges against Daniel to be thrown into the pit, together with their wives and children. But before they even reached the bottom, the lions ripped them to pieces. 

King Darius then sent this message to all people of every nation and race in the world: “Greetings to all of you!  I command every one in my kingdom to worship and honor the God of Daniel. He is the living God, the one who lives forever. His power and his kingdom will never end.  He rescues people and sets them free by working great miracles.  Daniel's God has rescued him from the power of the lions.”

Daniel 6:19-27

Daniel disobeyed the king's order not to pray to God for the next thirty days and several thousand years later we are still telling the story! Could Daniel possibly have known that day when he went home with the intent to disobey the king's order that it would have such an impact on the world? Frankly, I think not.

Here was the impasse: The king made a law that "could not be changed" and Daniel had a faith that "could not allow" him to obey that law. Daniel could have said, "It is only thirty days and then I will pray again as I have always done." He could have thought, "As long as I don't pray to the king, God will not be offended." But Daniel said neither of those things. Daniel had always prayed and he continued to pray and the result was a Bible story of lasting impact on the lives of millions of people.

In the United States today the "powers that be" have declared, even without making it an official law that we cannot pray in public places. Prayer is banned in public schools and in government buildings and many other places as well.

If Daniel were alive today how would he have responded to our situation? I think Daniel would be praying everywhere they told him not to pray. I think he would obviously disobey the will of those who want to quiet prayer.

What if we like Daniel were to refuse to be quiet in those places that prayer is forbidden? What if all followers of Jesus, like Daniel refused to be silenced? The reason they want to stop prayer today is because Satan knows how powerful it is. The Devil knows that prayer will rock his kingdom to the core and damage his work in the world. He would say "Do anything, but don't pray."

"Lord Jesus, give me the courage of Daniel to stand and pray even when the world around me demands that I be quiet. Help me to trust you to shut the mouths of lions today as you did for Your servant Daniel so many years ago. And may You be praised forever. Amen."

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