"O my God, listen to me and hear my request. Open Your eyes and see our wretchedness. See how Your city lies in ruins - for everyone knows that it is Yours. We do not ask because we deserve help but because you are so merciful. O Lord hear. O Lord forgive. O Lord, listen and act! For Your own sake, O my God, do not delay, for Your people and Your city bear Your name." Daniel 9:18-19......"In our churches we may put Him in stained glass windows, but never let Him in the door. Back of all else, we may carry His Name on our lips but never crown Him in the throne room of our hearts. The way to revival in heart, home, or church, is to open the door to Jesus." Vance Havner........"Apart from Holy Ghost breakings, what will ring the emergency bell in the Church of the Living God? When are we going to stop playing church?" Leonard Ravenhill
I recently heard Anne Graham Lotz describe the prayer of Daniel in the 9th chapter of the book that bears his name as his "heart scream." Even more than a cry, it is prayer from a heart screaming in desperation for the very life of God Himself. It is prayer that comes out of a life of total brokenness. A heart that wants nothing more than Him. Not blessings, well being, success....just Him, and Him alone. Daniel cried out for the release of God's people from their Babylonian captivity. But not just a release that returned them to their homeland of Israel, but one that returned them to their true home, the very heart of their Father God. It was Daniel's heart scream. Does such a heart scream emanate from our hearts in prayer? I have no doubt that we "scream" in a great many of our prayers. What is it we scream for? That which will make or lives better, easier, more comfortable and manageable? Or, a scream that comes from a heart that has desperate need of Him above all else. A heart scream that is willing to have nothing change in the circumstances around us, but will find total joy in having His fullness within us.
Do you remember the old rhyme from childhood; "I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream?" This seems to be the limit of most of our desire. The "ice cream" that this world offers. Men such as Havner and Ravenhill, writing and preaching more than 50 years ago, saw the desperate need of the church everywhere. Yet they beheld a church very content to pursue and enjoy the fruit of the Kingdom, but had little desire for the life of the Kingdom. We scream for ice cream. We don't scream for His presence. This continues as the darkness in the world increases, as sin and evil abound. We have erected reminders of Christ everywhere in our homes and church fellowships. Yet it cannot be denied that in all of them, He is far more absent than present. Far more an ideal than a reality. We slumber in the light, and the light we sleep in grows less, and the darkness more. Yet we continue to scream for ice cream instead of the bread and water of His Life.
The prayers of Daniel were mighty. They confronted the full power of hell itself, and prevailed. Heart scream prayers that have as their object the laying hold of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, will always prevail over that darkness. Ice cream prayers never will. Kingdom prayers cannot fail. Which, in the end, are we praying? The emergency bell Ravenhill spoke of is ringing. Do we hear it?