By Kyle Patterson
Every time God reveals something about himself to us, he is inviting us into a closer walk with him. He’s knocking and inviting us into a deeper area of fellowship and relationship. Christ’s desire is for not only servants, but also friends. You share intimate ideas, information, heartache, and pain with friends.
In the book of Daniel we see the growing relationship between Daniel and the Lord, and the increased wisdom God brought into Daniel’s life. He already had multiple visions, dreams, and revelations of the end times. Now we see how he responds to the Lord. Each vision and revelation was an invitation into a deeper relationship with God. This is the heart of God and our purpose - to know him and make him known.
We read in Daniel 9:3, "So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes."
Here we see the heart of the intercessor, where Daniel brings the needs of his people, God’s people before the throne of God and reminds him of his promises, repents on behalf of the people, and take the burden of the people upon himself. In intercessory prayer, we see a call to serve the body of Christ, going to God on behalf of those who need help.
It’s in the place of intercession that our attitude and heart is lined up with God’s will for the person or circumstance. We begin to see as God sees and replace our finite perspective with his infinite view from eternity past, present, future.
Oswald Chambers said it this way, “True intercession involves bringing the person, or the circumstance that seems to be crashing in on you, before God, until you are changed by His attitude toward that person or circumstance. People describe intercession by saying, "It is putting yourself in someone else’s place." That is not true! Intercession is putting yourself in God’s place; it is having His mind and His perspective.”
An intercessor is someone who has entered that place of friendship with God and is ready and willing to hear from him and respond in faith and service for the greater good.
Corrie ten Boom, “We never know how God will answer our prayers, but we can expect that He will get us involved in His plan for the answer. If we are true intercessors, we must be ready to take part in God’s work on behalf of the people for whom we pray.”
Daniel begins his prayer with confession of sin. The Bible tells us he who confesses his sins finds mercy, but whoever conceals them will not prosper. In order to come into right relationship with God, confession of sin is essential. When we see him as he is, the only natural response to God in deep, life changing repentance.
Tim Keller puts it this way, “We need to go deeper to the only lasting way to change our hearts—take them to the radical, costly grace of God in Christ on the cross. You show your heart the infinite depths to which he went so that you would be free from sin and its condemnation. This fills you with a sense not just of the danger or sin, but also of its grievousness. Think about how ungrateful it is, think of how your sin is not just against God's law but also against his heart. Melt your heart with the knowledge of what he's done for you. Tremble before the knowledge of what he is worth—worthy of all glory.”
As Daniel beholds who God is, it’s natural to see our own sinfulness in light of his holiness. In his light we see light. In his truth, we see truth and Daniel can’t help but be overwhelmed with his and his nation’s own short falling before God. He takes the place of a priest, therefore, and goes to God on behalf of Israel.
Like Christ, who ever lives to make intercession for us, the ministry of intercession takes the needs of the people and brings them before God, asking for his help and guidance. In Daniel we see a picture of Christ and his substitutionary work on the cross, taking our place so that our sins could be forgiven and our punishment transferred to him. In Christ we see the only One who never sinned, going to the Father on behalf of our sin and voluntarily taking the punishment on himself, as the great and true Intercessor for mankind.