“Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed… he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God….”
– Daniel 6:10
Prayer rarely costs us anything but time. Yet so many believe it to be dispensable because of the time it may cost. Prayer was going to cost Daniel his life and he still refused to dispense with it. It is when we believe prayer to be indispensible that we see it become effectual. The above prayer that Daniel prayed was the sole reason he was thrown into the lion’s Den. We somehow miss that when we teach this lesson to our children. It is one thing to talk about prayer that is strong enough to get you out of the lion’s den; it is quite another thing to have a prayer that is strong enough to get you thrown into the lion’s den. Daniel’s faith was tested long before he was ever thrown into the lion’s den- it was tested in the prayer closet. When our prayers and our faith are strong enough to get us into the lion’s den, then they will be strong enough to get us out of the lion’s den.
North Korea today is the only country in the world in which prayer to the true God is illegal- just as it was in Daniel’s day. Regrettably, the punishments in North Korea for violating the law and praying to any god but their “dear leader” are far more brutal, cruel, and barbaric than the lion’s den that Daniel faced. In North Korea prayer does not always save you from death, it often gives you over to it.
When Peter was about to face the greatest temptation he had yet faced, he was going to need the greatest help yet in his life. Jesus admonished Peter to, “watch and pray lest you enter into temptation” (Matt. 26:41). Unfortunately the spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak. With Peter’s prayerlessness went Peter’s strength against temptation. Jesus had earlier warned him, “Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat” (Lu. 22:31). While all was lost in Peter, all was not lost for Peter. For Jesus himself said while warning him, “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” (Lu. 22:32). While Peter’s fall was certain, so was his redemption. Peter would return, but why? Because Jesus had prayed for him.
In the hour of our temptation when we fail to pray, our Savior does not fail to pray for us. In fact, that is the description of His current ministry to us (for he has not stopped serving): “He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Heb. 7:25). He is able to save to the uttermost because he always lives to make intercession for them. The cross is finished. Death no longer holds dominion over Christ. The resurrection is accomplished. The ascension is fulfilled, the everlasting doors have been lifted up and the King of glory has come in. Those essential ministries of Christ are all finished. In fact if you look at all the things that Christ accomplished, every one of them was an intercession of one form or another. He continues to intercede. Intercede of behalf of those who are facing incredible temptations and being sifted by Satan. Prayer is simply one form of intercession.
As much persecution as is taking place everywhere today, there is not a country in the world where Christians face as much persecution as North Korea. It remains number 1 on the persecution index. Like Peter and Daniel, they are facing profound suffering, difficulty, and temptation. How can you help? Pray for them that their faith does not fail. The prayer that costs you time one day, may very well bring deliverance for them the next day. Pray for the believers of North Korea that they may be faithful to Christ and overcome temptation. They are being sifted as wheat, pray that their faith does not fail. Join with your Lord and intercede for them.
God has commanded us to pray, shall we cease because men command us not to?