3 Keys to Successful Ministry – Part I
“14 When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact. 15 He asked the king’s officer, “Why did the king issue such a harsh decree?” Arioch then explained the matter to Daniel. 16 At this, Daniel went in to the king and asked for time, so that he might interpret the dream for him.
17 Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 18 He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven 20 and said:
“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are his.
21 He changes times and seasons;
he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.
22 He reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what lies in darkness,
and light dwells with him.
23 I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:
You have given me wisdom and power,
you have made known to me what we asked of you,
you have made known to us the dream of the king.”
Daniel Interprets the Dream
24 Then Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to execute the wise men of Babylon, and said to him, “Do not execute the wise men of Babylon. Take me to the king, and I will interpret his dream for him.”
25 Arioch took Daniel to the king at once and said, “I have found a man among the exiles from Judah who can tell the king what his dream means.”
26 The king asked Daniel (also called Belteshazzar), “Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?”
27 Daniel replied, “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, 28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you were lying in bed are these:
29 “As Your Majesty was lying there, your mind turned to things to come, and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen. 30 As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than anyone else alive, but so that Your Majesty may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind.” Daniel 2:14-29 NIV (emphasis mine)
In our last devotion, we saw things heating up with King Nebuchadnezzar and the wise men. The king wanted someone not only to interpret his dreams, but also to tell him what his dream was. If they were unable to do it, the wise men would be put to death.
At this point in Daniel 2, Daniel and his friends enter the story. To the king, Daniel and his friends were just 4 more magicians that should be put to death because they weren’t genuine wise men. When Daniel heard about what happened, he rushed into see the king and asked for some time. The king had enough respect for Daniel to give him some time to make the dream and the interpretation known.
When Daniel returns, he shows three keys to successful ministry. We will explore the first key in this devotion.
1 – Daniel and his friends prayed… fervently.
“17 Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 18 He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision.” Daniel 2:17-19 NIV
Daniel went to his friends and they prayed. They pled for mercy from God.
There are times that we pray before we eat or pray for the sake of praying. This was not one of those moments for Daniel and his friends. They pled for mercy. They contended with God. They were desperate. When was the last time you offered a desperate prayer to God? When was the last time you prayed fervently? When was the last time you prayed like your life depended on it?
When Daniel asked the king for a day, he was trusting that God would speak to him. Do you trust that when you ask God for guidance that He will provide it? Do you expect God to talk to you? Do you expect God to reveal His will? Do you believe He will come through?
“5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” James 1:5-8 NIV (emphasis mine)
Here’s a thought. If we believe that God is going to speak to us and reveal Himself and His will when we are in a Bible study or in our devotions, we should be ready with a paper and pen in hand. The lessons we learn from Daniel is not to be lazy. Don’t be half-hearted. Don’t come wondering if God will speak. Come to His Word eager and expectantly.
Holy Spirit, stir my spirit to pray with fervency and passion today. Lord there are too many times when my prayer life consists of going through the motions rather than desperately seeking after You and longing for You to act. I need the love of my Heavenly Father. I need my Savior Jesus Christ. Come now Holy Spirit. Breathe fresh life into me. I expect You to lead me today. Breathe a deeper more passionate longing for You. I don’t want to go through the motions. Increase my heart for Your presence. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.