Experience the Holy Spirit in Contemplation | 04

AUTHOR: Holy Scripture

READ:

Read or listen to Daniel 6:1–24.

Darius decided to appoint 120 satraps over the kingdom, stationed throughout the realm, and over them three administrators, including Daniel. These satraps would be accountable to them so that the king would not be defrauded. Daniel distinguished himself above the administrators and satraps because he had an extraordinary spirit, so the king planned to set him over the whole realm. The administrators and satraps, therefore, kept trying to find a charge against Daniel regarding the kingdom. But they could find no charge or corruption, for he was trustworthy, and no negligence or corruption was found in him. Then these men said, “We will never find any charge against this Daniel unless we find something against him concerning the law of his God.”

So the administrators and satraps went together to the king and said to him, “May King Darius live forever. All the administrators of the kingdom—the prefects, satraps, advisers, and governors—have agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an edict that, for thirty days, anyone who petitions any god or man except you, the king, will be thrown into the lions’ den. Therefore, Your Majesty, establish the edict and sign the document so that, as a law of the Medes and Persians, it is irrevocable and cannot be changed.” So King Darius signed the written edict.

When Daniel learned that the document had been signed, he went into his house. The windows in its upstairs room opened toward Jerusalem, and three times a day he got down on his knees, prayed, and gave thanks to his God, just as he had done before. Then these men went as a group and found Daniel petitioning and imploring his God. So they approached the king and asked about his edict: “Didn’t you sign an edict that for thirty days any person who petitions any god or man except you, the king, will be thrown into the lions’ den?”

The king answered, “As a law of the Medes and Persians, the order stands and is irrevocable.”

Then they replied to the king, “Daniel, one of the Judean exiles, has ignored you, the king, and the edict you signed, for he prays three times a day.” As soon as the king heard this, he was very displeased; he set his mind on rescuing Daniel and made every effort until sundown to deliver him.

Then these men went together to the king and said to him, “You know, Your Majesty, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no edict or ordinance the king establishes can be changed.”

So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you continually serve, rescue you!” A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den. The king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signet rings of his nobles, so that nothing in regard to Daniel could be changed. Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting. No diversions were brought to him, and he could not sleep.

At the first light of dawn the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. When he reached the den, he cried out in anguish to Daniel. “Daniel, servant of the living God,” the king said, “has your God, whom you continually serve, been able to rescue you from the lions?”

Then Daniel spoke with the king: “May the king live forever. My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths; and they haven’t harmed me, for I was found innocent before him. And also before you, Your Majesty, I have not done harm.”

The king was overjoyed and gave orders to take Daniel out of the den. When Daniel was brought up from the den, he was found to be unharmed, for he trusted in his God. The king then gave the command, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and thrown into the lions’ den—they, their children, and their wives. They had not reached the bottom of the den before the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.

What does the observation of other administrators and satraps concerning Daniel (v. 5) communicate about his attentiveness to God? What do Daniel’s actions and steadfastness in difficult times communicate about his awareness of God’s presence?

The written Scripture is CSB, however, the audio Scripture is ESV.

FOCUS:

Read or listen to the blog. What is one thing you learned about what it means to lovingly gaze on Jesus? How can you incorporate what you learned into your daily routines? For example, I will pay attention to the beauty in nature around me, and acknowledge that it is from the hand of God.

Contemplating People: Listening to the Heart of the God Who Sees Us


By Nydiaris Hernández-Santos

 

Praying with people one on one, in a deeply personal way without concern for time, is one of my favorite things to do. Prayer creates a space of vulnerability with both the person offering prayer and the person receiving it confessing their dependence on God to walk through the joys and pains of life. That is the perfect terrain for the Holy Spirit to work. 

Surrender! 

In that unhurried, sacred space of prayer we surrender all our counseling tools and knowledge to God, recognizing that pain often leaves us baffled and speechless and that only he can console and comfort a wounded soul. In this personal prayer space, people often share their stories with me, something I regard as a sacred honor. But on occasion, they won’t tell me anything, which means extra dependence on the Holy Spirit. Oh how I love those moments! We start by taking a few minutes to breath and wait on the Lord, then we pray. During those few minutes I pray, “Holy Spirit, who is this person? What do they need to know at this moment? How do you want to encourage my brother or sister?” As we pray, we cry together, we laugh together, we lament together, we sit in the presence of God together. Sometimes we are amazed at the specificity of those prayers. Sometimes it feels as if God brought an MRI machine to the prayer time! That is what it feels like to be seen by the Lord. 

 

Seen by the Lord 

I wonder if that is what Hagar felt when she ran away from Abram’s house. Genesis 16 says that she ran away because her mistress Sarai, Abram’s wife, severely mistreated her. Can you imagine being treated so badly that you would run away from your only means of sustenance and security? Who was going to worry about a runaway servant? The answer is simple. God would! Hagar ran away from Abram’s house into the wilderness, but not from the sight of God. She might have thought nobody would see her pain while hiding in the wilderness, but God met her there and spoke truth to her heart. She felt cared for and seen by the Lord in the wilderness. So much so that she named him El-roi, the God who sees me. 

So she named the Lord who spoke to her: ‘You are El-roi,’ for she said, ‘In this place, have I actually seen the one who sees me? Genesis 16:13

Just like he saw Hagar, God sees all of us. He knows we woke up at night anxious, restless, sleepless, and frustrated with life. He knows we hid in the bathroom to enjoy a moment of peace in the midst of chaos in our home. He knows the day we cried in frustration during our lunch break at work, asking God to provide a workplace where we can flourish, not whither. He knows that last night we slid down the wall all the way to the floor in a corner of our apartment, crying profusely, depressed, and consumed by sorrow. He knows. He is El-roi, the God who sees me, who sees you, and he is the same God we address when we pray. So when the opportunity comes to pray with people in that very intimate and personal way, ask him for spiritual vision to see people with his eyes. 

 

Seeing people with God’s eyes

 

When we ask to see people like God sees them, something amazing happens. He opens our eyes to see both the person in front of us and him more clearly! A Scripture passage might come to mind to pray over our brother or sister. The Holy Spirit might provide a new measure of compassion and empathy to better  stand in solidarity with our brother or sister. Standing in that beautiful, sacred, and unhurried space of prayer, where Jesus is consoling a soul, can renew our sense of God’s love for people. When we come to that realization, we are transformed by God’s love, intentionality, and care. In contemplating people with God’s eyes, we behold the beauty of God himself as he loves those who bear his image. 

Will you pray for someone today and ask God to help you see them with his eyes? You don’t have to be in the same physical space to bring the needs and cares of a friend, a family member, or someone in your social circle before the Lord. Ask the Lord to bring to mind the name of someone. Once you know the name, ask God to show you what he or she needs. Let God draw you with his love for all his children and reveal his beauty in the process.

PRAY:

Lord, let your beauty and greatness ground me and, like Daniel, help me remain steadfast in the midst of suffering.

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Week 4 of 8 Contemplation

2 Comments

  1. Chelsa Jensen

    May your God, whom you continually serve, rescue you! Daniel 6:16.

    Daniel was distinguished and he had an extraordinary spirit!

    Reply
  2. Anne McDonald

    Thank you for this beautiful description of prayer as it blesses Two in the gracious presence of His undying love. Your writing brought my attention to places untouched for too long. I find it in these times all too easy to turn my back on Hagar, whose case I had often supported. Now the challenge with the Two is to bear with both in their aching, where the work becomes one of reconciliation. Neither Hagar, whose taunts must have torn deeply into Sarah’s barren state, nor Sarah to whom Hagar must have appeared as the representation of all she could not attain, were looking at the other through God’s eyes. And still each one was mightily blessed. Does this conundrum not ask of us what healing we might facilitate by deliberately entering into deep prayer with the burden of the cross between the adversaries?

    Reply

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