Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Daniel Prayer, by Anne Graham Lotz

Anne Graham Lotz knows something about prayer.  And she knows something about evangelism.  When your daddy is Billy Graham, and your brother is Franklin Graham, it is part of the family tradition.  As a speaker (dare we say preacher?) and writer, she carries on her father's tradition of clear, thoughtful, and challenging messages about the gospel and the Christian life.

In The Daniel Prayer: Prayer That Moves Heaven and Changes Nations, Lotz challenges us to follow the example of Daniel.  As a captive exile in a foreign land, Daniel remained faith to his God, refused to bow to the foreign gods, and gave an example of prayer, found in Daniel 9, that we can follow today.

Daniel's prayer is a prayer of repentance and restoration, calling for God to restore Israel.  Lotz believes "God's patience may be running out" for the United States, because of the nation's tolerance of abortion, embrace of gay marriage, and "our abandonment of the nation of Israel."  In Daniel's case, God's people were taken into exile.  I don't know what God has in store for us, but Lotz is right.  We do need to repent, individually and collectively, of our sin, and plead with God for restoration, for the glory of God.

The Daniel Prayer is about prayer for national restoration, but much more than that, it's about prayer in general.  She discusses Bible reading and worship as foundations for prayer, practical issues like determining the proper time, place, and preparation for prayer, and keeping a central focus of prayer "that God's name be cleared. Exalted. Glorified."  And we should never forget that prayer is warfare.  When we pray, "we are entering into the realm of spiritual warfare with the enemy."

It comes as no surprise that Lotz, who had one of the great evangelists as her model, would be a great communicator.  She has honed her gift and developed her own style.  She's a sought-after speaker, and The Daniel Prayer is an example of why.  However, as powerful as parts of her message were, I sometimes felt that, like many speakers, she drew points out a bit too far, squeezing 15 minutes of content in a 45 minute sermon, so to speak.  It also lost focus overall, as the book morphed from a book on the Daniel Prayer to a general book on prayer.

But that may just be me.  The larger point is that she leaves the reader with much to chew on.  Her challenge to a more consistent, focused life of prayer is compelling.  The model prayers in the final section are at once intimidating (I can't pray that articulately! Or that long!) and encouraging (Here's a prayer I can learn to pray from.).  Now, to get American Christians praying Daniel Prayers. . . . May God's name be glorified as he restores his people to his place of blessing.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!

2016 Reading Challenge: A book by a woman conference speaker

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