We are to pray for the nations according to the plans and purposes of God. To do so, we need a revelatory understanding of the times in which we live. Derek Prince used to call this “Shaping History through Prayer and Fasting.” We have an excellent example of this in the person of Daniel the prophet.
Daniel 9:1 – In the first year of Darius… of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans, in the first year of his reign…
Daniel looked at the political situation in the context of biblical prophecies; yet he also looked at the biblical prophecies in the light of the political situation. He understood how prophecy affects politics, and vice versa.
Daniel 9:2 – I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish 70 years in the Desolations of Jerusalem.
Daniel studied the scripture in order to understand how to pray. As Daniel studied Jeremiah who went before him, we can study both Daniel and Jeremiah (and all the other scriptures as well). As he meditated on scriptures (logos), he sought prophetic understanding of those scriptures (rhema), as to how they applied to the situation in his generation.
Judah was exiled in 586 BC (during Jeremiah’s time). Seventy years later, at 516 BC (during Daniel’s time), God allowed for the exiles to start returning. Daniel compared the biblical promise and timing with the date and conditions in which he lived. This is what Don Finto refers to as, “when timing and promise come together.”
Daniel 9:3 – Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplication, by fasting, sackcloth and ashes.
Daniel did not take it for granted that the events would come to pass just because they were written in the scriptures. Rather he took the scriptures as a mandate for him to pray in order for those prophecies to be fulfilled just as he had read them. He prayed in the expectation that his prayers were part of causing those prophecies to come to pass.
Daniel was living in the area of Iraq and Iran at the time. However, the central themes of his prayers had to do with the return and restoration of the nation of Israel. Every nation has a prophetic mandate and destiny from God. However, the destiny of all the nations is spiritually connected with the restoration of Israel. [The exile and restoration of Israel represent to the history and destiny of the nations what the death and resurrection of Yeshua (Jesus) represents to each one of us on a personal spiritual level.]
Therefore, an understanding of the prophetic significance of events in the Middle East should have an influence on the prayers of the saints wherever they live in the world.
Daniel 9:4-5: I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said… we have sinned and committed iniquity; we have done wickedly and rebelled.
Notice the elements of humility and repentance in his words. Here Daniel is praying not primarily about his own sins, but about the sins of his people. This is what we refer to as “identificational repentance.” He is putting himself “in the shoes” of his people. He is repenting on their behalf and thus making intercession for them (Isaiah 53) and standing in the gap for them (Ezekiel 22).
Daniel 9:20-23: While I was praying and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel… while I was speaking, the man Gabriel whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, came flying and reached me… and he said, “O Daniel I have now come forth to make you wise in understanding. At the beginning of your supplication, the command went out and I have come to tell you…”
The angel Gabriel was sent out because of Daniel’s prayers and at the time of Daniel’s prayers. (Daniel, the most senior prophet in the world in his generation, was aided by Gabriel, one of the most senior angels in the army of God.)
The reason we can affect the world by our prayers is that God commissions mighty angels to respond to our prayers. The more we pray, the more the angels are put into action. The less we pray, the less effective they are. Our prayers affect angels; and angels affect history.
The connection between our prayers and the work of angels not only changes history, it also gives us prophetic revelation about those events. When the angel Gabriel broke through, he gave Daniel personal prophecy and revelatory understanding about the times in which he lived. Our prayers not only change history through the intervention of angels, they also give us prophetic insight into the plans and purposes of God.
May our prayers be aligned with the scriptures and may we see God’s prophetic Word come to pass.
This article originally appeared on Revive Israel, August 13, 2020, and reposted with permission.