In the entire New Testament, Jesus taught His disciples only one prayer; some today refer to it as the Lord’s Prayer. Though many of us recite it from memory in services or on occasions where various denominations gather, how often do we really think about its significance or expect this prayer to actually be answered? Let’s look at it for a moment and think about praying it as if you were melding with the words of the prayer and, more importantly, with Jehovah to see His will accomplished on the earth:
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. — Matthew 6:9-13
Author Jan Karon wrote a series of books about a vicar in the fictional village of Mitford. The main character was often heard to pray what he called “the prayer that never fails.” During her various books about the pastor and his congregation, we learn that prayer was, “Thy will be done.” Author, pastor, and theologian Dr. Charles Swindoll wrote: “Prayer was never intended to make us feel guilty. It was never intended as a verbal marathon for only the initiated. Real prayer—the kind of prayer that Jesus mentioned and modeled—is realistic, spontaneous, down-to-earth communication with the living Lord that results in a relief of personal anxiety and a calm assurance that our God is in full control of our circumstances.”
Jesus told us we should pray that His kingdom be ushered in on earth as in heaven. This is what the earthly Church is meant to do—shepherd His kingdom. How can we possibly do this if we truly do not know Him or are not one with Him?
Looking back on my life, I see clearly that those times when Jesus has moved the most powerfully were when I leaned the most heavily upon Him. Whenever He has moved mightily was when “I” moved out. Jesus would show up and softly speak, and when I obeyed, I would see His will done on the earth as if we were actually standing before His throne in heaven. This is receiving the kingdom of God like a child. It is through those who have spent time with Jesus, who commune with Him through prayer and reading the Word, who obey His voice, that His kingdom becomes real on earth.
Often when Believers are set in a place of authority, it is not long before the Enemy raises his ugly head, determined to target the faithful—and Daniel was no exception. Soon others in the court were plotting, “So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him. Then these men said, ‘We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God’” (Daniel 6:4–5).
The accusers could find no fault with Daniel; his life was exemplary, his record one of integrity and faithfulness. He was a target in good standing for the Fellowship of the Offended. The jealous men had to resort to subterfuge in order to trap their rival. Daniel was widely known for his custom of praying three times each day with his face pointed toward Jerusalem. The pattern had long been established, so his adversaries took advantage of Daniel’s prayer routine and approached the king, Darius, with a plan that prayers could only be offered to him rather than any other deity. The king was flattered by all this attention. Who wouldn’t want to be God for a while!
Obviously, Darius wanted all the accolades and adoration, so he succumbed to the temptation and signed the decree. He was swept away on a tide of egoism and pressed his signet ring into the wax on a document that would become law, one that could not be changed. The thing was done—bow to any God except Darius and become lion fodder. When Daniel heard of the new law that had been imposed, what do you suppose he did? Wring his hands and cry, “Why me, God?” Did he begin to look for a secret place to pray or fashion a plan of escape? Did he close all the windows and lock the doors? No! “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” (Daniel 6:10).
Fear did not rule Daniel’s life. God had been faithful to him and to his friends. Daniel had no reason to doubt. He would either be protected in the lions’ den, or he would not. It made no difference; he was committed to doing the will of God. He refused to compromise his beliefs to gain the favor of the king.
There is no record that Daniel offered any argument to the king before he was led away to the lions’ den; only after God had vindicated him and saved him from the jaws of the ferocious beasts did he offer any defense. He knew he had been innocent of anything other than obedience to Jehovah-Shammah—the Lord who was Present in the lions’ den. Daniel had sought the kingdom of God and been rewarded. Daniel’s consecration had won him the favor of the king, but more importantly, it won him God’s continued favor.
Why did Donald Trump order the drone strike that killed General Qasem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Quds Force? What was the threat? The question of why is exceedingly more important than what.
Every U.S. president beginning with James Monroe has established a doctrine that defined their foreign policy. For example, President Jimmy Carter had a doctrine of tolerance and weak allies. In his State of the Union speech of January 23, 1980, Mr. Carter vowed that the U.S. would strongly defend national interests in the Persian Gulf. That pledge apparently came too late for 66 men and women. They were taken hostage after the American Embassy in Tehran was stormed. Fourteen were later freed, but 52 were held hostage for the 444 days of Carter’s remaining presidency. No overt military action was taken to stop the travesty.
President Ronald Reagan faced one of Iran’s proxies on October 23, 1983, after Hezbollah bombed the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. I would know; I was there sleeping on the beach a few hundred yards from the building that was targeted. On February 7, 1984, Reagan ordered the Sixth Fleet to evacuate the remaining U.S. troops from Lebanon.
After an attack against the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, on December 31, 2019, Donald Trump had a different response: He made it perfectly clear that he would protect American interests abroad. He did not leave the defense of the compound to a few but ordered an additional 100 Marines to defend the embassy and its inhabitants. What President Trump did was to make it perfectly clear to the largest terrorist regime worldwide that it was a zero-sum game; that Americans would not be besieged on his watch without consequences. Iran is not accustomed to that.
Iran has swept like an Ebola virus throughout the Middle East. It has almost taken complete control of Iraq. It is the reason for the Syrian massacre and has funded Yemeni terrorists in their battle against Saudi Arabia. An Iran with nuclear capabilities would be an existential threat to the world.
President Trump’s decision to remove Soleimani from the equation was a very courageous one. The vast majority of U.S. heroes who lost life and limbs in Iraq did so because of improvised explosive devices—IEDs—with the general’s prints on them.
Yes, Iran was shocked and needed to be; her leaders never calculated a president who would be this strong. Mr. Trump advised the Iranian leadership that if they continued to attack Americans, he had designated 52 Iranian sites (in memory of the 52 hostages) that he would target. Iran has never before had to deal with such moral clarity in a U.S. president. Nor has Iran had to deal with a Secretary of State such as Mike Pompeo who also exhibits moral clarity. In the past, it has too often been the State Department doing battle with the White House.
President Trump explained that he ordered the hit on Soleimani to prevent a war. He is 100 percent correct. However, according to U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, the U.S. is prepared to “finish one.” In an interview with CNN, he said:
“The fact of the matter is Soleimani was caught red-handed … one terrorist leader, of a terrorist organization meeting with another terrorist leader to synchronize and plan additional attacks on American diplomats, forces or facilities. I think we took the right action to remove these players from the battlefield.”
The events of 9/11 occurred because the U.S. capitulated with an appeasement policy. If Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda were considered a grave threat before that day, I can assure you that today Iran is ten times the threat.
Daniel and three young companions were among the scores carried off to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar’s armies. They were snatched from their homes and families, and we are not told if any family members survived the battle and ransacking of Jerusalem. The young men would be forced to endure whatever trials and degradation faced them. Despite the circumstances surrounding these four young men, they did not relinquish their faith in Jehovah.
These Hebrew boys from noble, nurturing families had been accustomed to being in a warm and caring atmosphere. They were homesick and unsettled, and things would only get worse. Their familial protection had been stripped from them, and they were at the mercy of a pagan king and his minions. Yet God had not forsaken them; their training had not abandoned them; their faith in Jehovah was secure. They would be faced with trials and demands that would challenge their beliefs. Would they remain faithful?
One of the first tests to which Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would be subjected was over the food provided to them. The king had ordered that they be fed from his table with food that was not allowed under the Law of Moses. The three young men were determined not to eat the food offered to idols and petitioned the Babylonian official to allow them to partake of only vegetables and water. With reluctance, the keeper agreed. The resolve of the young men and their obedience to God’s law won them the respect of the official, of Nebuchadnezzar, and of God. They had passed the first test with flying colors, but a more difficult test lurked around the corner. How would they handle a life-threatening situation?
Nebuchadnezzar was not unlike many in the public eye today: He began to believe his own hype, his own public relations fantasies. As his ego grew, so did his desire to erect a statue that would reflect his untold wealth and power. His artisans loosely based the design of the image on a dream that Nebuchadnezzar had experienced, the meaning of which Daniel had interpreted. The king opened the doors to his vast storehouses of golden treasure to provide the materials from which the idol was to be made. It is entirely possible that some of the golden vessels taken from the Temple in Jerusalem were included in those melted and used to fashion the commanded graven image.
The Chaldeans worshiped a number of heathen deities, but nothing as brilliant and magnificent as the statue that rose up from the plain of Dura. It was said to be 90 feet tall and nine feet wide—probably with an appearance much like an obelisk. Nebuchadnezzar was elated with the statue when it was completed and issued an edict to the people of Babylon: The graven image was to be dedicated as an object of worship, and all would display their consummate devotion by bowing down before the idol:
Now, Daniel and his friends had cut their teeth on the laws of God, specifically the Ten Commandments. The tenets and precepts of God’s law were deeply ingrained in the minds and spirits of those young men. The first and second commandments are very specific: You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make any graven image. And even though their lives were threatened, those Hebrew children would not bow down.
The time has come for Christians everywhere to stand up and “Blow the trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly” (Joel 2:15). There is a gap, a breach to be filled, and a price to be paid. Dedicated watchmen are needed on every wall. God’s Word is rife with examples of intercessors who prevailed against the Enemy, the prayer warriors of Hebrews 11 who subdued kingdoms, shut the mouths of lions, set armies to flight, raised the dead, and secured the promises of God—all through faith in God and prayer!
Daniel put his life on the line by praying three times a day despite the king’s order to abstain. Prayer is a priority we cannot and must not overlook. Israel’s, and indeed America’s, future hope lies in the hands of prayer warriors, those who will take up the banner and commit to prayer. It is not the last resort; it is the first step in winning the battle against the evil that stalks this world today.
If Daniel prayed and mighty angels were sent to do battle against demon spirits, so can you and I. Since Daniel lived in the Babylonian Empire, it is quite possible that the prince of Persia he fought in the spirit was one of the same spirits at work today to bring death and destruction. Regardless of which spirits are now involved or how many there are, the clarion call goes out to God-fearing people everywhere to man the battle stations and fight the war in prayer. Just as America has been forced to take the war on terrorism to the battlefields of the nations that sponsor it, we must take our fight to the battlefield in the spiritual realm to defeat the demons that sponsor it.
We must take the battle to the Enemy and defeat them through prayer in the name of Jesus! Prayer is the only exploit that takes hold of eternity. It is the action that touches heaven and moves earth. It pierces the heart of God, turns the head of God, and moves the hand of God. For a Christian, it is not the last resort; it must always be the first line of defense! Through prayer, we must do everything possible to overthrow kingdoms of darkness, shut the mouths of the lions of terror, and quench the flames of hell by the power of almighty God! How you and I respond to God’s call will determine whether we succeed or fail.