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Lowell Brueckner

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Daniel’s Life of Prayer


Shelley and Dan
I am happy to be able to give you another message from our oldest son, Dan, something I haven’t done for quite some time.  Dan, Shelley and family were mission-aries in Macedonia, where Dan and others in his family still have many dear friends. They return to visit from time to time. Dan also ministers in other places in Europe.

Dan frequently shares exciting, sometimes astounding, testi-monies with us, of the clearly evident work of God in people’s lives. I chalk that up to the fact that the people in Swanton Christian Church are faithful to come together for prayer. Dan is pastor in Swanton, Vermont, only a few minutes from the Canadian border. He gave this message a few Sundays past on September 1, 2019. It is an encouraging and challenging word from the Lord, containing some very pithy statements.

Daniel’s background

One day, while Daniel was still living in his parents’ home, the Babylonians came and took him captive. Many think he was a young teenager. We don’t know if his parents were killed in the raid and we don’t have a clue, as to what this would be like. Three of his friends, whom we know better by their Babylonian names: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego - I will just go with those names - were taken with him into Babylon. They were all of the nobility, but more importantly they were noble in character. Those were tough days; it was a long, hot journey and they were taken to a land, in which they couldn’t understand the language. They were forced to go to a school to learn the language. No one would choose to be treated this way. 

The Babylonians were looking for confident young people who could stand in the king’s palace. They were taught the literature, as well as the language of the Chaldeans, for three years and then were presented before the king.  We begin in Daniel 1:17…

“As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.”

God gave them knowledge and skill. I remember Dan Pinion, now deceased, who was a member of our church… it was so simple for him to believe that God gave him every breath that he took. It was a gift from Him, so that everything else he could do, was a gift from Him and he gave God credit for everything in his life. We go to verses 19 and 20…

“And the king spoke with them, and among all of them none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. Therefore they stood before the king. And in every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom.” 

Daniel’s position in Babylon

Now, this is a world power, yet Nebuchadnezzar found these Jewish boys ten times better than all the rest in his realm. It would seem that Daniel was informed of the events that were happening to Israel. While he was growing up, there were false prophets, but there was also a true prophet called Jeremiah. He informed the people that they would go into captivity for a period of 70 years. He encouraged them to surrender to Babylon without a fight, because they had sinned and God indicated that they were going to be punished. 

A false prophet put a yoke on his neck, broke it and said, “No, God is going to break the yoke of the king of Babylon.” Who are you going to believe? They wanted to believe the false prophets, who were saying, even if we go into Babylon, it will only be for a short time. However, Daniel somehow knew that Jeremiah was a prophet of God and, obviously, everything he prophesied came to pass. Now Daniel was in captivity and there was no doubt anymore that those who said that this would not happen, were wrong. He was a man of understanding concerning the Scriptures available at that time and in spite of his circumstances, he decided, “I’m going to live for God.”

Daniel learned to pray and, if I can encourage the young people, I would say, “No matter what happens, live for God and learn to pray. There is nothing like serving God.” Daniel learned to pray early in life and developed the habit of prayer. We will see that he became a very prominent figure, with a busy schedule, but he took time to get down on his knees to pray. He did this three times a day, in fact. He was a friend of God.

Well, one night the king had a dream and called all the wise men before him. He demanded that they would tell him the dream and the interpretation. They said, “This isn’t fair. Tell us the dream and we’ll tell you the interpretation. Nebuchadnezzar said, “Oh no, it will be easy for you to invent an interpretation. You tell me the dream itself, or I will have you killed.” Daniel gathered his three friends and this is what they did, reading Daniel 2:17-19…

“Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.”

In a crisis, Daniel not only prayed himself, but got a group around him to pray with him. They did it, because it was their only hope and they trusted God. Prayer is dependency upon God and if you don’t pray, it’s because you don’t need God. 

Daniel determined in Babylon, “I’m going to do my job, serving the king.” Some might say, “But you’re serving the enemy.” No, Jeremiah prophesied and said, “You will serve the king of Babylon. You’re going to be there a while. Build homes and have children and multiply in number.” Daniel knew this and so he determined that he would serve God faithfully by serving the king. Therefore, he became an important man, a friend of the king, and he promoted him. Daniel asked also that his three friends be promoted. So, now these fellows, who came close to being annihilated, were now given important positions in the kingdom. 

You know the story that follows, so I will not get into it, about Nebuchadnezzar building a golden image and demanding that everyone bow down to it. I don’t know what happened to Daniel during this story, but his three friends stick out like a sore thumb, because they are not bowing, when everyone else is falling on their face. They knew the consequences already. It was the death sentence. They were thrown into the fiery furnace, but God delivered them. There was a fourth man walking among them in the furnace and the king saw him. He had them brought out of the fire and not a hair was singed, nor was there a smell of smoke on them (Daniel 3:15-18).

  Then, later on, King Belshazzar held a great feast and saw a handwriting on the wall. Daniel interpreted it and that night, the Medo-Persians take over the kingdom and Babylon was no more (chapter 5). So, another world power took control. Now, what will happen to Daniel, since he was a part of the old Babylonian régime? Let’s go to chapter 6… 

“It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom 120 satraps, to be throughout the whole kingdom; and over them three high officials, of whom Daniel was one, to whom these satraps should give account, so that the king might suffer no loss. Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.”

Daniel and prayer

Dan, Ruth, Shelley, Anna
What a position for a man, who determined to walk with God! Darius wanted him to take the highest position, but that made some people jealous. Of course, he was a Jew, as was Esther later, and her relative, Mordecai, and all the Jews were in danger at that time. Then, we could talk about the Holocaust… people have threatened the Jews for a long time, and here in Persia is a Jew, as well. 

So, some people in high places started an investigation, sent out the CIA and the FBI, to get some dirt on Daniel. They had a lot of places to look and a lot of people to talk to about him. Daniel is around 80 years old now, so there is a long record of his work. There should be some evidence of wrongdoing. Maybe, he’s cheating the government somewhere; so they looked and looked again, but found no fault with him and no flaws in his business. What a testimony! Would your boss at work be able to say that about you? Would there be enough evidence to convict you of being a Christian?!

The only thing that they kept hearing is that he was true to his God. So these people got together and concluded, “Let’s see how we can use this against him.” They went before the king and their reasoning went something like this: “We need to bring some unity into this country. There are so many different people with different ideas and they have other beliefs and religions. Let’s unify everyone, by insisting that for 30 days, no one can pray to any god or man, except to you.”  

This pleased the pride of the king and so he signed the petition. There was a condition in the Medo-Persian Empire that once any proposition became law, even the king couldn’t change it. There could be no appeals. There was a law made in the time of Esther that could not be changed, but it was possible to add a condition to that law. The penalty for breaking this new law was that the person, who broke it, would be thrown into a lions’ den. Of course, this was capital punishment. 

What would happen in this world, if God’s people wouldn’t pray for 30 days? For even one day? Jesus said that the rocks would cry out, if His people were silent. Daniel was probably one of the first to hear about this new law. Turn with me to Daniel 6:10…

“When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.

Couldn’t Daniel shut the windows and pray in secret for a while, since all eyes are on him? No, Daniel loved his God and would rather be eaten by lions than to miss a prayer meeting! “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion” (Pr.28:1). Daniel was bold as a lion and now he would be thrown to the lions. Why did he face Jerusalem? When the temple was built, Solomon prayed…  

(If) in the land of their captivity… (they) pray toward… the city that you have chosen and the house that I have built for your name, then hear from heaven your dwelling place their prayer and their pleas and maintain their cause… Let your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayer of this place” (2 Ch.6:38-40).

What was the condition of Jerusalem at this time? It was in ruins and the temple was destroyed. Common sense would tell you, all that Solomon prayed has come to an end, but Daniel believed God and His promises. His faith didn’t waiver and he prayed with expectation.  Daniel knew by the book of Jeremiah that the desolation of Jerusalem would be for 70 years. He prayed with humility – he was a high official, but he got down on his knees in humble reverence before God. He prayed with thanksgiving. He is in a crisis, trouble is all around him, but he gave thanks before he was delivered from the lions. 

When the Bible smuggler to China was pushed by a guard, in confusion, out of harm’s way, he began to praise God. God rebuked him, saying, “You’re singing the right song, but you’re singing from the wrong side. You should have been singing when you were still in the line of fire.”

What is your Jerusalem today? It may be in ruins now but you need to keep praying with your window open toward Jerusalem as a statement that says, “It looks bad, but I’m trusting Your promises and that everything you declared will come to pass. 

King Darius and his friend, Daniel

Swanton Christian Church in autumn
 When King Darius heard that Daniel was the victim of his own law, he tried to set him free from the time that he heard until sunset. He looked for some loophole in the law, because Daniel was his friend, but even the king could not change it. I like the king’s statement concerning Daniel in verse 16: “Your God, whom you serve continually…” Do people look at your life and say, “No, he’s a Sunday Christian. The rest of the week, my goodness, how he lives!?” But what a testimony Daniel had of continuous faithfulness! 

The king can do no more. He refused all food and entertainment and has a miserable night without sleep; Daniel, on the other hand, like Peter in prison the night before his proposed execution, seemed to rest just fine. They roll the stone over the lion’s den and the king seals it with his signet ring. In chapter one, Daniel refused to eat the king’s dainties and in chapter 6, the lions refused to eat Daniel! We read on from verse 19… 

“At break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, ‘O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?’ Then Daniel said to the king, ‘O king, live forever!’ My God sent his angel and shut lions’ mouths and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.’ Then the king was exceedingly glad and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.” 

We are reminded of Hebrews 11:33, 34…

(Those) who through faith… stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire.” They did it by faith, by putting their trust in God. However they were not always delivered. See verse 36: “Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, etc.” Peter was set free, just after James was killed. Did Peter have faith, while James did not? No, verse 39 says, “These all died in faith…”  The three Hebrews said, “God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace… but if not, be it know to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image” (3:17, 18). Daniel also was willing to die, rather than stop praying to his God. 

Application of a faith that knows no compromise

Jesus said, “Everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Mt.10:32-33).

People, do you trust God, even if things look bad? Do you believe the Bible? Do you have a place you can go where you can get alone with God or are you too busy? Leonard Ravenhill said, “If you’re too busy to pray, you’re too busy.” Daniel was busy, but not too busy to pray. Do you give him thanks in the midst of storms? Cultivate an attitude of thanksgiving – “in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God.” I encourage young people: Form a habit of getting alone with God. Learn to pray when you’re young. Get to know God. Read your Bible. Form the habit like Daniel, who was not someone who prayed only in a crisis. On the other hand, call upon some of your friends to pray along with you in desperate situations.

Don’t compromise or be ashamed of your God. My dad put it this way: “Don’t rob God of an opportunity.” In other words, the three Hebrews could have said to each other, “Well, we can physically bow down, but God knows in our hearts, we are not bowing. Or Daniel could have said, “For these 30 days I’ll close my windows, when I pray.” No, they gave an opportunity for God to manifest Himself. He likes to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are loyal to Him. Don’t rob him of an opportunity.

Dan & Shelley with Macedonian friends
I close with a portion from Psalms that I have been reading in our prayer meetings and I said, “Let’s start are prayer meetings in this way.” King David writes this in Psalms 116:1-2: “I love the Lord, because He has heard My voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.”

I think of my translator in the invalid home in Macedonia. Others were getting saved, but he was so sad and depressed. Then one day, he came wheeling out of his room in his wheel chair with a smile from ear to ear. He exclaimed, “God heard me! I called out to Him and He heard me!”


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