Whilst we were away this weekend, the message was on Daniel’s response to Nebuchadnezzar’s demand for an interpretation of his dream (told in Daniel 2). There were two aspects to this child-friendly sermon (children dressed up as Nebuchadnezzar, naming characteristics of his personality which were then stuck on him, and as God, also given ‘character labels’, suggested by the children) which particularly struck me.

One was the point that Daniel’s response to the threat he and his friends faced if they could not come up with an interpretation (a very unpleasant death!) was to pray. Prayer is one of the greatest resources we possess and yet is often neglected. Lynn, giving the sermon, mentioned a quote from John Piper on the subject of prayer which really resonated with me:

“Life is war. That’s not all it is. But it is always that. Our weakness in prayer is owing largely to our neglect of this truth. Prayer is primarily a wartime walkie-talkie for the mission of the church as it advances against the powers of darkness and unbelief. It is not surprising that prayer malfunctions when we try to make it a domestic intercom to call upstairs for more comforts in the den. God has given us prayer as a wartime walkie-talkie so that we can call headquarters for everything we need as the kingdom of Christ advances in the world. Prayer gives us the significance of front-line forces, and gives God the glory of a limitless Provider. The one who gives the power gets the glory. Thus prayer safeguards the supremacy of God in missions while linking us with endless grace for every need.” (John Piper)

The second image which has stuck with me was a Venn diagram, ably illustrated with hoops, to show us how we live in the world but also belong to God’s Kingdom and how we, essentially, live in the overlap part:

Jesus prayed about His disciples “They are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.” (John 17:15-19)

For many of us, we feel the struggle of being ‘in the world’ but ‘not of it’ very much. Let’s take heart, though, for Jesus also said: ‘In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” ‘ (John 16:33)