The Daniel Prayer: Prayer That Moves Heaven And Changes Nations, by Anne Graham Lotz
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/Zondervan in exchange for an honest review.]
A reader of this book can be sure that what they are reading comes with the voice of the author, especially for those readers who are familiar with the author’s appearance in a recent Patterns of Evidence documentary . The tone overall is very personal, and the author appears very genuine both in speaking about her marriage and the declining health and death of her husband, her upbringing (her father is, of course, Billy Graham ), and her own particular beliefs. She is not shy about naming and claiming promises and prophecies for her own life, such as her experience as a barren wife who, upon reading about the prayer of Hannah, felt that she would give birth, and she eventually did. Some readers will likely find her attitude about naming and claiming biblical blessings to be unsettling and unbiblical, but she does appear to be sincere about the practice and makes no attempt to hide it. Indeed, the entire book as a whole can be seen as an extended attempt to claim the prayer of Daniel about the restoration of Judah to God’s graces in a contemporary context where national judgment is deserved, and feared.
The contents of the book are well-organized and full of worthwhile biblical discussion. The introductory material of the book discusses the social crisis of our present time in the absence of genuine moral leadership as well as widespread societal evils like abortion, evolution, and ungodly sexuality, along with a tendency for self-righteousness and a lack of compassion towards others, and introduces the prayer that Daniel made in Daniel 9:1-23 upon which the book is centered. The author then divides the remainder of the book into four parts. The first part deals with the preparation of the prayer through commitment, compulsion, and centering on God in three chapters. The second part examines how we plead in prayer with confidence, confession (of our own sins and that of our people), and clarity in three chapters. The third part of the book shows how we prevail in prayer when our prayers are answered immediately, ultimately, and specifically, and the fourth part provides readers with patterns of prayers that are centered, compelled by spiritual realities, confident, contrite, clear, and a battle, along with closing reminders about the spiritual battle involved in prayers and some gratitude and acknowledgements to those who prayed for the author during the writing of this deeply personal book. The combined contents of the book end up being a little more than 250 pages, but the materials flow well.
Nevertheless, the book as a whole suffers from two related and serious problems that point to a larger issue of unpleasant relevance. In the author’s desire to claim the prayer of Daniel 9:1-23 for her own, she does not claim the whole context, by which Daniel and his people had already been in captivity for 67 of the promised 70 years. It is not the claiming of Daniel’s prayer as relevant that is problematic , but rather the fact that only the promise of God’s blessing is claimed and not the context of judgment and then repentance. The author wishes to claim the promises of divine favor without claiming the context of exile and judgment that leads Judah to repent. The second major issue is related to the first, in that the author fails to name and claim a statement made in Ezekiel 14:14 that is relevant to the context of the Daniel prayer and its contemporary relevance, namely the promise that if Noah, Daniel, and Job were present in the corrupt society of Israel at the time of the end, that they would only be able to deliver themselves by their own righteousness, and not anyone else, much less their corrupt and wicked society. In the end, the author is right to desire for God to be merciful to our society, but this book appears entirely too optimistic in face of the total lack of repentance that we have seen in our cultural and political leadership and in the larger body of society at large. As was the case with Daniel, it appears that any widespread repentance and restoration to God will have to occur in the context of judgment and exile, given the lack of spiritual awakening that is visible at present and over the past few decades.
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 After all, many people point to the relevance of the Book of Daniel to the contemporary period. See, for example: