“Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.”
Daniel 9:18, NIV
The whole of Daniel’s extraordinary prayer, recorded in Daniel Chapter 9, is a model of how to pray when returning to God in repentance. Daniel was praying on behalf of his people who had been exiled from Jerusalem for seventy years. It’s a pattern for praying that flows through confession of sin, repentance, and asking God for forgiveness and restoration. It can be used in a very personal way when an individual who has been away from the Lord returns to Him or in a corporate way on behalf of a nation. Or, perhaps, in an international way when we look at what is happening across the whole world at this time.
The desolation and devastation being caused by the impact of coronavirus has not only brought the world to its knees medically and economically. But there are many who are being driven to their knees spiritually as they cry out to God for mercy, just as Daniel did all those years ago. He knew that God had promised “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). As I write these words the governments and nations of the world are in lock-down as they wait for the worst that they say is yet to come, but I believe there are many of God’s people across the nations who are now praying, as Daniel did for mercy, for a world that has turned away from its Creator.
This virus has taught the world just how powerless we are in the face of an unseen enemy. I watched on TV as a very sick man tried to explain how the virus had made him look at his life and wonder if he had been good enough. I read of how some formerly atheistic doctors in Lombardy, Italy, had come to faith through the witness of a dying Pastor. Even through the crisis God is speaking to his people and using the devastation to get people’s attention.
For each and everyone of us this is a wake up call to the reality of life’s brevity. May I encourage everyone reading Seeds of the Kingdom to use this season wisely and to spend time with the Lord preparing your heart for that day which, one day, will come for us all. In Jesus’s parable it was the wise virgins who were ready and waiting for Him. To spend such time now is an investment in eternity!
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that even in the difficulties that the world is now facing, people are seeking for and finding You. Help me, Lord, to be ready at all times for the day when either You come or You call me home. I want to be ready and waiting, loving and serving You with every breath I take.. In Jesus’s Name, Amen