Jody finishes the study of Daniel with a review and summary.
Lord, why do my prayer times most often focus on me—myself? I would like to be more outward.
So, began an entry in my journal. Have you ever felt the same way? As I thought about the question, I realized that the outward always begins with the inward. Obstacles in my inner world can be like rocks, all jammed together and wedged to impede the flow of compassion and purpose. Don’t be concerned that your prayers begin with your heart. To have a clear heart is to release the flow of living water.
The enemy would plug the well with rocks of uncertainty and fear. God’s work in, for, and through you loosens the impediments. Do you remember when the Father said to Jesus, “You are my beloved son”? It was from those words that Jesus did all the works that His Father gave Him to do. If His heart had been wedged shut with fear, uncertainty and self-hatred, Jesus would never have been able to respond with obedience to the interruptions. opportunities and human needs. The springs of life came out pure and free because He moved confidently in His Father’s love.
That can be true of you, too. In prayer, you can ask your Father to remove the rocks so you can respond from a place of confidence. God may not always tell you in advance what He will do, but He will prepare you to hear and see by helping you clear the well of your heart.
The second part of Jody’s exploration of Daniel, Chapter 11. In some ways, it feels like a travelogue about a land you’ve never visited. Still, there are treasures to be found in this, one of the last chapters of the remarkable book of Daniel. (Notes and workbook are available at the “Notes” tab above).
Jody begins a two or three part series drawn from the eleventh chapter of Daniel. Some interesting historical notes begin to emerge.
When you struggle in prayer, it does not mean God is far from you. That is the time the Spirit intercedes for you. That’s what Paul, our brother and apostle, said. Do you know what that means? The Spirit is alive in you. He is not an inert substance, but a living presence that shares the will of the Father and the mind of Christ. And, in the sharing, none of them are lessened or diminished. Each of them, the presence, the mind of Christ, the will of God, is fully alive in you. This is what is meant by the love of God: you are not alone, never alone. That is the “always.” It never changes. Though you dwell in the depth of the sea, walk in the valley of shadows, or struggle through jungles of despair, He is there.
When you are discouraged, it doesn’t mean that Father is far from you. It means He is very near. The discouraged feeling is not God’s absence or presence, it is your focus on the things that are less important than His purposes. If you can turn toward His kingdom and righteousness, you can move forward despite feeling discouraged.
So, when prayer is a struggle, remember the Presence. When you feel the absence, let that be a reminder of His “always.”
[Romans 8; Psalm 139; Matthew 28].
The study of Daniel takes on a slightly slower, more comprehensible pace after the whirlwind of prophetic dreams and visions as the book moves toward a reflection on history instead of glimpses of future events.