Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
A Psalm of David
“I waited patiently and expectantly for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up out of a horrible pit of tumult, out of the miry slime, and set my feet upon a rock, steadying my steps and establishing my goings. And He has put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many shall see and worship and put their trust and confident reliance in the Lord. Blessed are the women and men who make the Lord their refuge and trust, and turn not to the proud or to followers of false gods. Many, O Lord my God, are the wonderful works which You have done, and Your thoughts toward us; No one can compare with You! If I should declare and speak of them, they are too many to be numbered…Let all those that seek and require You rejoice and be glad in You; let such as love Your salvation say continually, ‘The Lord be magnified!’ As for me, I am poor and needy, yet the Lord takes thought and plans for me. You are my Help and my Deliverer, O my God, do not tarry.”
“The journey of waiting, moving from the known to the unknown, the seen to the unseen of God’s future, will have some terrifying moments in it. Ease and predictability are not among God’s promises. But as we wait, as we journey, we will find ourselves clinging to God as never before, and listening for His voice as if our life depended on it! That in itself, makes the waiting worth the while.”
Today’s Study Text:
“Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. Then said these men, ‘We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God. Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, ‘King Darius, live forever. All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counselors and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. Wherefore King Darius signed the writing and the decree.”
“Earthly Power Versus Heavenly Purpose” Part 21
“Who Do I Want to Receive My Petition?”
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
What did the worldly men in King Darius’ government forget when they wrote out their decree for the king to sign?
What does it mean to me personally, to know that the Almighty God, the Ruler of the Universe, hears every word in every petition I make to Him?
“Prayer covers the whole of a person’s life. There is no thought, feeling, yearning or desire, however low or trifling we may deem it, which, if it affects our real interest or happiness, we may not lay before God and be sure of sympathy. His nature is such that our often coming does not tire Him. The whole burden of the whole life of every (individual) may be rolled on to God and not weary Him, though it has wearied us.”
Henry Ward Beecher
“I often say my prayers, but do I ever pray?
And do the wishes of my heart,
go with the words I say?
I might as well kneel down,
and worship gods of stone,
As offer to the living God,
a prayer of words alone.”
While the words above were penned by an unknown individual, they couldn’t have been more appropriate for today’s devotional. Sometimes it takes me several hours searching for just the right words to convey the core point of a devotional. However, today was one of those times that I felt as if I was assisted by “power from on High” as I grabbed an old volume in my library that had this poem right at the beginning of the quotes on prayer.
Specifically, I wanted to focus on the word “petition,” found in Daniel 6: 7 which is one of our Study Texts for today. In the Hebrew, this word, as used in Daniel 6: 7 means – “to inquire, to seek, to request, to ask.” Forms of this Hebrew word bâûw even mean to “desire, to gush, to make a prayer petition.” The fact is that there are only two books in the Bible, Daniel and Esther, where we find the word “petition” used more than two times and in both cases – in the books of Daniel and Esther – the word “petition” includes the word “prayer” in its meaning. It is no wonder to me at all that a few weeks ago when I felt I had “writer’s block” in relationship to beginning our studies in the book of Esther, I found myself constantly impressed to go back to the book of Daniel for we uncover the fact that these two books are linked by prayer in ways I could never have imagined. And it is the word “petition,” not commonly found in the Bible, which helps us focus on the importance of who we worship when we bow in prayer.
As the poem above asks: “Do I pray?” This was a question I needed to ask myself. How much attention do I give to the words which come from my mouth when I am praying? The poem continues with this very pointed statement: “I might as well kneel down, and worship gods of stone, as offer to the living God, a prayer of words alone.”
Indeed, as we read Daniel 6: 4-9, the government hotshots that King Darius relied on to assist him in ruling the nation of the Medes and Persians, were apparently under the false assumption that any king would do or any god would do when it came to asking for what you wanted. It’s rather like the Baal-worshippers in the time of Elijah. If you hollered loud enough and screamed long enough and cut your body up causing significant pain, your god might give in to your needs.
Frankly, it was this mindset, which was employed by the envious co-workers of Daniel, that propelled them to devise a plan they hoped would bring their faultless foe tumbling down.
Playing upon the king’s weakness for flattering words being tossed his way, this group of men came to King Darius with an idea that turned the head of the ruler whose army had recently conquered the great Babylon. Already feeling rather invincible, I imagine that King Darius thought the idea of having all the requests and desires of his subjects in his nation go through him for approval sounded rather appealing. What better way to let the nation know who was in charge? Really, this was a brilliantly ingenious ploy! Not only would the king most likely receive the honor and good will of those he ruled, but the presidents and princes thought they would get the credit from King Darius for formulating this strategy in the first place. But oh what a miscalculation they made.
Thinking that we can take our requests to any individual and the result will be all we had hoped for only serves to put us in the dumpster of discouragement and despair when we find that the falsity of our earthen gods will let us down every time.
King Darius, while an unwitting participant, found that the consequences of bowing in worship before the gods of earth only brings heartache. And yes, 30 days can seem like a lifetime when you’re petitioning a false god.
“1) June 2, 2016 – Nina Ruth: My needs are desperate at this point and I am broken in spirit at this moment – but THIS is THE point where He can show up?!
2) June 5, 2016 – Dorothy V: I’m going to go talk to the Healer of broken spirits right now and ask Him to show up on your doorstep. Really Nina Ruth, I’m going to ask God to move His mighty right arm of strength on your behalf. I know He can and will and I’m going to keep asking for a miracle for you – over and over again until our Father says, “Please girls, I’ve got this and now is the time!!!
3) June 6, 2016 – Nina Ruth: He heard us, dear Effie (Dorothy V) He heard!!! The Lord knew I needed the money to pay my rent by June 6 and that my regular working hours were reduced this past week. Well, on Saturday, I got a miraculous babysitting job that helped a lot. But I was still short. I had no idea how I’d have the money by Monday A.M., June 6, 2016 – I know in my heart God is faithful to His word. Still my mind was wrestling. I knew there was no way I could see how I’d get the money because there isn’t mail delivery on Sunday.
Sunday morning I received a text from my friend Laurie. “Where are you right now!” I was texting her back when there was a tap on my shoulder. I looked up and it was Laurie and without any words passing between us she slipped me a $ bill, a huge sum and more than half of what I needed to have the full amount for rent due on Monday. I had not even shared my need with Laurie. I texted the testimony of what Laurie had done for me to my dearest friend Brianna in Connecticut. Other than my Garden prayer request, she was the only one who knew about my need. I texted and said, “Bri, you won’t believe what just happened!” We texted back and forth through the morning and then she asked me if I have Paypal for my Etsy business and I told her, “Yes!” A little while later I received a text from Paypal, informing me “Bri” had sent a sum of $!!! I was in tears thanking Brianna. But my miracle wasn’t over! On Monday morning, June 6th, I realized I had miscalculated and was still short all the funds needed for rent. However, I was totally at peace knowing that the same God who had answered our prayers on Sunday would work on my behalf on Monday… and when I got home from work on Monday night, and I picked up my mail, there in a card from my “auntie” in another state was the exact sum I had prayed for and her card was mailed days earlier and with ZERO knowledge of my financial need. I paid my rent on time with a little left over to get me to Friday when I’ll get a paycheck.
As I read Nina Ruth’s emails the past week, over and over the words of the prophet Isaiah came to my mind, “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear (Isaiah 65: 24, K.J.V.).
As I was studying for today’s devotional thoughts, I came upon an old book I purchased years ago for 99¢ but believe me when I say that this book entitled, Spurgeon’s Prayers, is really worth a million dollars. This dedicated pastor and prayer warrior penned these words that only serve to answer the question, “Who do I petition?” There should never be a question my Garden Friends for as Pastor Spurgeon tells us “God has heard my prayers, not now and then, nor once nor twice, but so many times, that it has grown into a habit with me to spread my case before God with the absolute certainty that whatsoever I ask of God, He will give to me. It is not now a ‘perhaps’ or a possibility. I know that my Lord answers me, and I dare not doubt it, it were indeed folly if I did…As the rain clouds brings the shower, so prayer brings the blessing. As spring scatters flowers, so supplication ensures mercies!”
Who do I petition? The Almighty God of the Universe who promises to hear and to act according to His goodwill and loving –kindness. Praise His Name!
“At a time when you are in trouble, offer up a petition, and when you are well supplied with good things, you should give thanks to the Giver, and when your mind rejoices, offer up praise.”
“Call on Me in the day of trouble, I will deliver you, and you shall honor and glorify Me.”
Hymn For An Early Morning Prayer Meeting
“Sweetly the holy hymn
Breaks on the morning air.
Before the world with smoke is dim
We meet to offer prayer.
While flowers are wet with dews,
Dew of our souls descend;
‘Ere yet the sun the day renews,
O Lord, Thy Spirit send!
Upon (life’s) battle field
Before the fight begins,
We seek, O Lord,
Thy sheltering shield,
To guard us from our sins!
‘Ere yet our vessel sails
Upon the stream of day
We plead, O Lord, for heavenly gales
To speed us on our way!
On the lone mountain side,
Before the morning’s light,
The Man of Sorrows wept and cried,
And rose refreshed with might.
Oh, hear us then, for we
Are very weak and frail!
We make the Saviour’s Name our plea,
And surely must prevail.”
Pastor Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“Call to me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things (fenced in and hidden), which you do not know or understand.”
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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