Thursday, September 04, 2008

What a NIGHTmare.

Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are his.
He changes times and seasons;
he sets up Kings and deposes them.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.
He reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what lies in darkness,
and light dwells with him.
I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers.
You have given me wisdom and power.
You have made known to me what we asked of you,
You have made known to us the dream of the King.
Daniel 1:20-24

So many times I have cried out to God for insight into my own life. I have cried “Jesus, please reveal to me your purpose in this season, for this time. Help me to interpret the ‘nightmare’ of my life so that I will feel some relief from this pain, anxiety and sorrow.”

Daniel’s prayer was pretty different. Daniel’s prayer was selfless-unselfish. Daniel’s prayer was for God to use him to help a king that had imprisoned him. For a king that would have him almost destroyed for his faith and fellowship with God.

God revealed to Daniel what Daniel had asked for. Daniel asked for the answer to the king’s question. Daniel asked for the specifics of the King’s dream. Daniel did not ask for the answer to the specifics of his own life. Daniel’s selfless prayer spared a nation of unbelievers. Daniel’s prayer also spared his own life and the lives of his friends.

Do we pray unselfish prayers? Do we pray “God, help me to minister to my boss today that needs you…I know that he is terribly annoying and makes Michael Scott look like the picture of professionalism…but please bless him with joy today.” Do we say things like “Lord, let my trip to the grocery store today be about you…if I need to stand in the express line for 20 minutes with three kids screaming for tic tacs so that your glory is revealed to someone hurting and scared, let it be.” Do we pray “Dear Jesus, help me to bring comfort to my neighbor…I know that she called the Sheriff last week because my kids were making too much noise in my backyard, but please bless her. Do we say “Dear Jesus, give me love and patience so that I can bless the people at the DMV with a smile who forgot to tell me that the wait time was 48 minutes.”? Do we say, “God, please help me to lay a loving hand on the teenager that causes me to cringe with the words she says and the looks she gives me.” Do we say, “Please heal my friend of the wounds that she has since childhood. Help her to forgive her Dad.” Do way say “Lord, please give me wisdom so that I might be a comfort to my friend that is lost in her own sin.”

No? Me neither. Usually my prayers are:
• Tell me
• Bless me
• Heal me

Bless my day, make my day smooth, bless my life. Reveal your plan for me. Let me complete this task.

What if Daniel’s prayer was like my prayer?

I think it would be like this:

“Lord, this King had a dream. He’s gonna kill everyone if he can’t find out what it means. Would you please send an interpreter so that we don’t die? Would you bring forward a brave person that is willing to let the king know? And God, listen, if you really need me to do it, please make it REALLY obvious. I’ll wait to hear from you, k?”

What if Daniel was too terrified for his own life to ask for wisdom? What if his prayer was “Use someone else, God, but protect me and my friends.”

Or what if it was “Thanks, God, for your amazing favor, but I would really be happy to just have some quiet time with you and then keep my mouth shut about you for the rest of the day. You know the people around me. They don’t dig the “God Talk.” It makes me feel awkward, too, God. So I’ll meet you here tomorrow and we’ll spend time together. Just you and me.”

Daniel knew. He knew the worship of the One True God , the one for which he spent time in prison, was more important that his own needs and the desires for his life. He acknowledged God’s power and wisdom. He trusted that God had given him the same.

Daniel thanked God for providing him the means (wisdom, power, light, revelation) to bless others. Daniel spared the lives of so many because of his unselfish prayer.

Today, with the same unselfish prayer, God can save lives by using you and me.

Invite Him today to
Reveal Himself to others
To bless others
To heal others
And to change you.

Someone else’s nightmare can become your dream come true.


Kate said...

Good post! I'll be praying for you this week.


Ouch. Very sobering and worthy thoughts. I think it is innately difficult for us to be "other" oriented. Thanks for a wonderful post.