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The Lord bless you and make you a blessing today. We greet you again with our greeting and ask that God will grant you through His Word on this program a wee bit of encouragement by it.
There is a place where thou canst touch the eyes
Of blinded men to instant, perfect sight.
There is a place where thou canst say, “Arise,”
To dying captives, bound in chains of night.
There is a place where thou canst reach the store
Of hoarded gold and free it for the Lord.
There is a place—upon some distant shore—
Where thou canst send a worker or the Word.
There is a place where heaven’s resistless power
Responsive moves to thine insistent plea.
There is a place, a silent, trusting hour,
Where God Himself descends and fights for thee.
Where is that blessed place? Dost thou ask, “Where?”
Oh friend, it’s the secret place of prayer.
Adapted from a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809–1892)
I always think when I think of Daniel, that old prayer warrior of days long ago, that one of the most beautiful pictures in God’s Word is the picture of Daniel on his knees by the window, as he prayed three times a day with his face toward Jerusalem. I want to read you part of this old story, for it may have been a little while since you read it.
You remember that the foolish king had signed a decree that anyone that would ask a petition of any god, save of the king, would be cast to the lions. King Darius was so flattered by this homage that he never even thought of Daniel, who was the first of the presidents over the whole kingdom, and he loved Daniel.
The other presidents and princes, who were jealous of Daniel, did this thing to trap Daniel, for they had said (in this fifth verse of the sixth chapter of Daniel), “We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.” They knew right where Daniel stood with his God, and they knew that he would not fail God no matter what the cost, and they knew when and where Daniel prayed.
I wonder if our prayer life is so evident in our living that people know when we have prayed? I want to read you just a little bit of this story. I wish I could read it all if we had time.
“Now when Daniel knew the writing was signed, he went to his house, and his windows being toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day.” Then God’s Word tells us that these men spied on him and saw him praying, and they went back to the king and told the king about it.
“And the king answered and said, ‘This thing is true according to the laws of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not’”—because the law of the Medes and Persians could never be altered once it was spoken. ”Then answered they and said before the king, ‘Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity, has not obeyed this that thou hast signed.
“‘But he maketh his petition three times a day to his God.’ Then the king, when he heard this, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him, and he labored till the going down of the sun to deliver Daniel.” Then you’ll remember that part of the story where the king couldn’t sleep through the night and they brought physicians, and yet his heart was so hurt and his conscience stinging him that he couldn’t sleep.
So the next morning he arose early and ran down to the den of lions. “And when he came near he called, ‘O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?’ Then Daniel said, ‘My God hath sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths; they have not hurt me, forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.’ Then was the king exceeding glad, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den.”
Because he believed in his God, no manner of hurt was found on him. Wonderful words! Because he believed in his God. Then the story ends with this, that Darius the king wrote a decree, “that in every dominion of my kingdom, tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God and steadfast forever. And his kingdom is that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be unto the ends of the earth. For Daniel’s God delivereth and rescueth, and worketh signs and wonders in heaven and earth, for he hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.” Wonderful, wonderful scriptures!
God forgive us for our little faith when we see what surprising things faith can do. I like those words best: “Because he believed in his God.” And wonderful words which the king spoke also, when he saw Daniel’s prayer answered and he came to his senses. I would that some listening in could come to the same conviction, for this is what he said: “For Daniel’s God is a living God and steadfast forever, and his kingdom is that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be unto the end. He delivereth and He rescueth”—and, my friend, He does it today. “And he worketh signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth”—and He’s still the same today.
You know, the faith that was born of Daniel’s prayer life was simply dynamic! There in prayer by that window Daniel set in motion the greatest force of all the universe. This was an impossible situation that Daniel was in, but as we so often have quoted, “It takes an impossible situation for God to work a miracle.” That’s the stuff out of which miracles are made—impossible situations.
Do you feel that your situation in your life is impossible today? Think of Daniel; remember the words that he prayed, and how he prayed three times a day.
There are three things it’s well to remember about prayer. First, Daniel knew his God. He was acquainted with God; he had fellowship with Him; he loved to talk to Him. You’ll not love to pray unless you know and love the one to whom you are praying. The only way to get acquainted with God is to read His Word, open your heart to Him, obey Him, have fellowship with His people. And then for even a closer walk, read it again and read it more. Soon you’ll love to pray.
Second, Daniel had a set time for prayer. It’s always best to have a time dedicated to God. You have a set time for other things—when you eat, when you sleep, when you work. The giants of faith down through the ages have testified that it’s best to have a definite appointment with God in prayer. You’re definite about other things.
Third, Daniel had a place where he went to pray. God’s Word speaks of going into your closet to pray. (Matthew 6:6) That simply means a place apart from the world and its distractions, a quiet place, but alone. Fellowship with others in the home and prayer is wonderful, but there’s got to be a time alone with God, no matter where the place may be.
I know an old house on a hill,
A mountain road, a grove, a rill,
A billowed hilltop stretching far
To sunset and the evening star.
I take a path through glade and wood
Deep drinking of its solitude
And find a spot, o’erarched and still
Where peace and poise the spirit fill.
The Master’s presence there is near,
The Master’s plan again is clear;
And far removed from work or strife
I reappraise the worth of life.
Yet hill and outlook, glade and wood,
The time, the place, the solitude
Hold not the secret of the prayer;
The secret place is anywhere.
Adapted from “The Secret Place,” by C. K. Ober
My friend, the secret place could be anywhere, but if faith is to grow, it’s necessary that you keep your appointment with God. God’s Word says, “watch unto prayer.” (1 Peter 4:7) Soon you’ll find flourishing in your spirit a real desire for prayer. Then and then only have you begun to build a faith like Daniel’s, that causes the world to say of you, “Thy God, whom thou servest continually, will deliver thee.”
Take your need to Him now. He’s just the same to you, He’s no respecter of persons. Thy God, whom thou servest continually, He will deliver thee.