Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon declares, “Oh! That our prayers could get beyond praying, till they got to agonizing.” James 5:16b-18 reads, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.” James comments on the events recorded in 1 Kings 18:41-19:8. Elijah’s prayer was based on 1 Kings 8:35-36, “When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against You, when they pray toward this place and confess Your name, and turn from their sin because You afflict them, then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your servants, Your people Israel, that You may teach them the good way in which they should walk; and send rain on Your land which You have given to Your people as an inheritance.”
A-C-T-S is an acrostic of the key elements of prayer.
Adoration is the first key element of prayer. This is illustrated in Daniel 9:3-4. Psalm 66:3 reads, “Say to God, ‘How awesome are Your works! Through the greatness of Your power Your enemies shall submit themselves to You.” Jesus said, “In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name” (Matthew 6:9).
Confession is the second key element of prayer. This is illustrated in Daniel 9:5-15. Dr. J. Edwin Orr (1912-1987) gives a good principle to govern confession: “If you sin secretly, confess secretly, admitting publicly that you need the victory but keeping details to yourself. If you sin openly confess openly to remove stumbling blocks from those whom you have hindered. If you have sinned spiritually (prayerlessness, lovelessness, and unbelief as well as their offspring, criticism, etc.) then confess to the church that you have been a hindrance.”
Dr. Orr describes how in the 1952 revival in Brazil a woman in a crowded church confessed, “Please pray for me, I need to love people more.” The leader told her gently, “That is not a confession, sister. Anyone could have said it.” Later in the service the lady stood again and said, “Please pray for me. What I should have said is that my sharp tongue has caused a lot of trouble in this congregation.” The pastor leaned over to Orr and whispered, “Now she is talking!”
Nothing negative is written in the Bible about Joseph or Daniel. They were blameless and served the Lord with distinction. We know that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), therefore, they were sinners like us. Daniel 9:20 reads, “Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God.” (Emphasis mine) Daniel is making a personal confession of his sin and a vicarious confession of sin for his people. Notice he says, “we” (Daniel 9:5-6). Sin does not affect the status of our relationship with God but it does affect the state of our fellowship and hinders our communication with God. Psalm 66:18 reads, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.” Proverbs 28:13 reads, “He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”
Thanksgiving is the third key element of prayer. This is illustrated in Daniel 6:10-11, “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days. Then these men assembled and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God.” Dr. Ron Rhodes shares the following: “Daniel 6:10 tells us Daniel ‘got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks as he had previously done.’ Notice that Daniel began his prayers with thanksgiving.” Ephesians 5:20 reads, “giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 4:6 reads, “. . . with thanksgiving. . . .”
Supplication is the fourth key element of prayer. This is illustrated in Daniel 9:16-19. Daniel 2:17-18 also illustrates this, “Then Daniel went to his house, and made the decision known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, that they might seek mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret, so that Daniel and his companions might not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.” Philippians 4:6 reads, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”
Dr. Joe T. Odle (1909-1980) former editor of the Baptist Record, writes, “Cultivate your devotional life through Bible study and prayer. The Bible is God’s Word to us. . . . Prayer is God’s child in conversation with him. . . . We cannot grow spiritually if we do not develop the devotional life.”
Reading God’s Word and requesting God’s will are two of the three r’s of a devotional life.
III. Third, there is receiving God’s way.
Daniel 9:20-27 reads, “Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God, yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, ‘O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision: ‘Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy. ‘Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command
To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. ‘And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined. Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.’”
His prayers were answered as we read in Daniel 9:23. One of the most wonderful thoughts is that God answers prayer. Daniel 10:12 reads, “Then he said to me, ‘Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.’”
It is amazing that we can communicate around the world and further into outer space, but the most amazing thing is that we can communicate with God on His throne in the third heaven.
Dr. F. B. Meyer (1847-1929) warns, “Before entering into any alliance—taking a partnership in life, going into a business with another, yielding assent to any proposition which involves confederation with others—be sure to ask counsel at the mouth of the Lord. He will assuredly answer by an irresistible impulse—by the voice of a friend; by a circumstance strange and unexpected; by a passage of Scripture. He will choose his own messenger; but he will send a message.”Too many Christians read the Word of God, request the will of God and sing, “I did it my way.” May we with Sam Menaham revise the lyrics of our life to read, “I did it God’s way.”
Reading God’s Word, requesting God’s will, and receiving God’s way are the three r’s of a devotional life.
Are you reading God’s Word, requesting God’s will, and receiving God’s way? Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) writes, “The best of men are, conscious above all others, that they are men at the best.” Dr. Stephen F. Olford explains, “I would state quite categorically that one’s devotional life is the spiritual barometer of one’s true condition.”
Recently, I heard they made Mother Theresa a saint. Are you a saint? According to the Bible, if you genuinely know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, you are a saint. As a believer we could honestly put the abbreviation “St.” in front of our name. Saint Franklin, I like that! I am eternally grateful to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, for making it a blessed reality! To be a saint is to be a holy one! Are you a devoted saint? Daniel was not just a saint he was a devoted saint. Though he was not sinless, he was blameless in a godless land. Daniel maintained his devotional life. Let me encourage you to maintain your devotional life. Dare to be a Daniel and follow the three r’s of a devotional life!
7 Charles H. Spurgeon, “Daniel: A Pattern for Pleaders” (Daniel 9:19).
8 Mathew Backholer, Revival Fires and Awakenings, “Confession, Repentance and Restoration” (Proverbs 28:13), Accessed: 09/29/16
9 David Guzik, “Nathan Confronts David” Sermon Notes (2 Samuel 12).
10 Ron Rhodes, The Key Ideas Bible Handbook: Understanding and Applying All the Main Concepts Book by Book (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2016), 188.
11 Joe T. Odle, Church Member's Handbook Revised Edition (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1962), 11. Database © 2012 WORDsearch Corp.
12 F. B. Meyer, Joshua, and the Land of Promise (New York, NY: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1893), 119.
13 Frank Sinatra, “My Way” (original lyrics by Paul Anka) Accessed: 08/29/16 http://www.drmenahem.com/songs/God_s_Way_song.pdf .
14 Sam Menaham, “God’s Way” Accessed: 08/29/16 http://www.drmenahem.com/songs/God_s_Way_song.pdf .
15 Spurgeon’s Gold: New Selections from the Works of C. H. Spurgeon, Selected by Edmond Hez Swem (Washington, D.C.: Judd & Detweiler,
Printers, 1888), 191.
16 Stephen F. Olford, Expository Preaching Outlines – Volume 2. “The Preacher and His Preparation” (1980). Database © 2013 WORDsearch Corp.