Dear Praying Friends,

In 2011, we declared the year as The Year of Jubilee, because the Lord was signaling a trumpet call for the year to respond as the Israelites did in the fiftieth year: to cancel all debts, to proclaim liberty across the land, and to return the land to its' rightful Owner (see Leviticus 25). God established this nation on the foundation of His Holy Word (The Bible), and He watered that seed with the blood, sweat, tears, and prayers of godly leaders and Christian citizens who daily sacrificed their comfort while never compromising their character to see God's purposes for the world and His Kingdom fulfilled. Sadly, that once tightly woven spiritual fabric of our nation is being systematically pulled apart by the threads and our sure foundation is being chiseled apart because so many of God's children have become too comfortable in a land that is not their home and sold their inheritance for momentary pleasure and personal pursuits instead of surrendering their hearts and sacrificing their lives to see God's Kingdom prevail.
The trumpet continues to sound loudly across this land calling the children of God to respond in this urgent hour with fasting and prayer and  and the response has been extraordinary as we watch the once smoldering embers of the prayer altar begin to fan into a brilliant and sweeping flame. May this encourage us as we remember the words of Charles Spurgeon, that the Lord has not called us to a cause, He has called us to Himself. He delights in our response to this call upon our hearts and has left the door to His throne room open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week desiring us to enter in.  "See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut" (Revelation 3:8a).  The Lord is simply looking for our response. What will your response be?

"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock.

If anyone hears my voice and opens the door,

I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me."

(Revelation 3:20)

Make it a priority of your life to begin to set aside one day a week, or one day a month, to seek the Lord with fasting and prayer. You will find that when you do, your circumstances may not change (in fact, they may, for a season, get significantly worse!), but your response to those situations will change. And that is what God is after. We come to the Lord looking for a change in our circumstances, but He is looking to change us. God is looking for stable people in an unstable world. Dependable people He can entrust the keys of His kingdom to. The more we trust and depend upon God, the more trustworthy and dependable we become to Him. May you experience the pleasure and presence of God as you respond to His call today. May today's response across this land bring forth a fresh wind from heaven igniting the dwindling embers of our weary hearts to set the prayer altar of the Church aflame until this entire nation catches on fire for the Glory of God!

"Return to Me,' declares the LORD Almighty, 'and I will return to you."

(Zechariah 1:3)

The proper response to turmultous times and in the face of impossible circumstances throughout Scripture has always been to seek the Lord with fasting and prayer (see Jehoshaphat's response in 2 Chronicles 20; Nehemiah's response in Nehemiah 1; Daniel's response in Daniel 10). The birth of the greatest movements throughout history can be credited to the response of a remnant of faithful believers who stood in the gap in prayer. The hand of God is moved when the heart of God is touched by the humble response of His people. It is in the place of prayer and complete surrender that God can reveal His strategies and prepare us for the work He has purposed us to do. One of the greatest examples of a man who the Lord used significantly in his time because he lived a life of prayer and responded many times with fasting is the prophet Daniel. Today, this is where the Lord took me as I set the day aside to pray and fast and seek the Lord on behalf of this nation and the Church. I am attaching a one day devotional of what the Lord showed me today (it is meant to be "eaten" at 3 different times throughout the day - just as Daniel sought the Lord 3 times a day). I encourage you to use it as you set aside a day to seek the Lord with all your heart with fasting and prayer and pray that you would be greatly encouraged and spiritually nourished as you feast on this small portion of God's Word and encounter this great man of prayer. See the one day prayer and fasting devotional below (For more spiritual meals visit www.trumpetandtorch.org - click on The Scroll Room Devotional Library at the top of the website home page to find additional prayer and fasting devotional journey's).

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled"
(Matthew 5:6)
One Day Prayer and Fasting Devotional:

In Daniel Chapter 6 we find the very familiar story of Daniel in the Lions Den (or we can look at it as The Lions in Daniel's Prayer Closet, because they also prospered from Daniel's faithfulness). Even the lions provide a portrait of God's faithfulness and provision when we fast and pray, as they rejected the meatless unsatisfying portions the world threw at them and instead waited patiently as the man of God prayed, and in doing so received a far greater reward and substantial feast the next morning. When we fast and pray it is not for our benefit alone. God will use our obedience to bless many (if only the administrators would have humbled themselves under Daniel's godly example they too would have saved their families from suffering and certain death!)

Breakfast - The Evil Plot - (Feast on Daniel 6:1-9)

Darius the Mede had just taken office and the government was being reorganized under his newly appointed authority. Daniel was one of three administrators the king had set over the kingdom. The king had chosen wisely, because Daniel "was trustworthy and neither corrupt or negligent" (v. 4b); character qualities desirable in any relationship, whether personal, business, or government. From the moment Daniel was brought by force into Babylonian captivity he set himself apart and distinguished himself as a man of great resolve (read Daniel 1). He never waivered in his commitment to God and because of his devotion and dependence upon God he not only received the favor of the King of Kings, he also caught the attention of earthly kings. God promoted Daniel to a position of influence, but he was also perfectly positioned for the enemy's attack (reference 1 Peter 4:1; 1 John 3:13).

"Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."
(1 Peter 5:8)

The moment we surrender our lives to the lordship of Christ we have been placed on a pedestal for the enemy to knock us down. We must remember, as Paul had written in his letter to the Ephesians, that "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12). The enemy knew that Daniel's character and resolve were indomitable forces, the only way he could take Daniel down was in regards to Daniel's faith. The enemy knew Daniel had an unshakeable faith - would to God that we would all be known by the world as Daniel was. Daniel was standing on a solid rock foundation and it is surprising the enemy even went up against him, but the enemy will find someone weaker to help him take the stronger person down. He found willing hearts in two jealous, greedy administrators and one prideful king (reference Proverbs 16:18). The enemy is looking for that person in your life right now - a friend, a parent, a spouse, a co-worker - someone who will let their guard down and be used to attack your strong faith and resolve (pray for the people in your life to stand strong...the enemy is looking for a crack to get in! Men...this is why we need you on the walls of our homes and churches and communities to pray...we need a strong garrison of prayer warriors who will guard against the enemy and not fall prey to his deceptive tactics. We need you to stand strong...we need your prayers!)

The enemy knew Daniel wouldn't waiver in his faithfulness to God so he set, what he thought was, the perfect trap. Daniel was a man of prayer, that is why he didn't waiver; he was already surrendered to God therefore he could never surrender to man (reference Acts 5:29). Daniel's faith rested in God's faithfulness and he knew, as the apostle Paul knew, that his life rested in God's hands (reference Galatians 2:20). The devil may have set the trap, but God knew that trap would catch the enemy in the end (for another example see Esther 7). God doesn't allow the fiery furnace of affliction, or the lion's den of disaster, to bring about destruction in our lives. No! He purposes them to deliver us to greater levels of impact and ministry ("whether by life or by death" - Philippians 1:20) so that He may receive all the glory.

Take some time to reflect on the battles you are facing. Sometimes we can be so distracted by the battles going on in the world that we completely overlook or dismiss the battles the enemy had brought into our own home. The family is under intense opposition and attack and we cannot expect the law of the land to respond to the divine law of God if the children of God are compromising God's law to suit their own sin and rebellion. Immorality, corruption, and compromise have infiltrated our homes and the church. We, who have the true Light within us, have twisted God's Word to suit our sin, and, instead of radiating His light, we continue to walk in darkness ourselves; dismissing our sin, while standing in judgment of the unbelieving, unenlightened world who desperately needs His Light. "For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God..." (1 Peter 4:17a). We must take a good long look in the mirror and allow the Lord to "wash us with water through His Word" and cleanse us (reference Ephesians 5:26). The healing we so desperately desire and need will not come until the cleansing comes first. "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time" (1 Peter 5:6). As we pray for repentance across the land, let us first look at our own hearts (reference Psalm 51:17). Begin today with a prayer of personal repentance. God brings revival one heart at a time. Let that first heart be yours.

Heavenly Father,
I praise You that You not only are a loving
and compassionate God, but also that You
are a holy and forgiving God.
May my response be like Daniel's to live
a life of holiness and prayer from this day forward.
May I seek Your face morning, noon and night
like he and Your servant David did.
May my prayers never be hindered
because I have hidden sin or unforgiveness in my heart.
May I dwell in the secret place with You
so that I never have to be ashamed and have to hide in secret
who I truly am. Let my life be an open book
and may it be a testimony to the world
of the great love and glory of God.
May my life be worthy of the enemy's plottings
but more importantly may my life reveal to the world
Your constant presence, power, provision, and
protection in my life. May You be
magnified and glorified in and through me.
In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Lunch - The Righteous Response - (Feast on Daniel 6: 10-18)

Daniel heard the decree and went about business as usual. For him, that business was prayer. Unfortunately, the work that God had called him to was now illegal in the land. This did not deter Daniel, for he knew that he must obey God rather than man. And he didn't fear man, because he feared God he desired to please Him above all. It's been said that the responsibility of prayer is one job that God has the most trouble finding people to do. As Christians we do pray (don't we?!), but do we have the commitment to a life of prayer that Daniel did...that David did...that Jesus did? A life given over to real intercessory prayer. A prayer life devoted to the kingdom of God and the outpouring of His grace to minister to the needs of others and not our own cries of criticism and complaint. Our relationship with God is a real living intimate relationship, but too often our prayers are one-sided. We are so busy laying out our laundry list of wants and needs that we don't give God time to respond. Too often we expect Him to fix the situation or send down a miracle that we miss out on the greater working He is doing building our faith and trust in Him. We want to wonder and marvel at the great moves of God that often we miss out on the extraordinary moments we get to have with God. As was stated earlier, God doesn't call us to some great work, He calls us to Himself (Charles Spurgeon).

These wicked men found Daniel just as they expected to "praying and asking God for help" (v.11). Prayer was not a part of Daniel's life, it was Daniel's life. It was how he lived and breathed. His life was dependent upon his quiet time with God. He wasn't afraid of the law of the land, because he was afraid of the land without God. He saw the condition of this immoral and idolatrous nation when they destroyed God's holy temple and dragged him into captivity. If any place needed God it was this place. He saw first hand what praying accomplished. He wasn't about to stop now. "He still prays three times a day" (v.13b). His life was more at risk apart from God then it ever would be at the hands of these godless men. Besides that he knew he was the channel God was using to pour His blessings and grace upon the land. God's people are conduits of His grace to the world. That is why it is essential that we keep our channels clear. Free from sin, from compromise, from unforgiveness, from anything that could possibly clog up and block God's blessings in our lives and in the lives of so many others. Daniel's daily encounter with the King of Kings kept him fearless when he came face to face with any earthly king.

His life was so distinguished by prayer and dependence upon God that even the king was fearful when he found out his own law would cause him to lose this valuable employee. "May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!" was the heartfelt cry of the earthly king. King Darius was so distraught over the possibility of losing his one connection to the God of Daniel that he himself stayed up all night and fasted. "Then the king...spent the night without eating...and he could not sleep" (v.18). Daniel had so impacted the life of the king that king Darius anguished over the life of Daniel. King Darius saw the power of Daniel's God firsthand and he knew that this God must have the power to save Daniel. He wanted so desperately to believe. So much so that he could barely wait for the first break of the morning light to run to the lion's den and call out to Daniel. Our lives should be so marked by God that when we take a stand the world around us should become restless, anxious, unable to sleep waiting with "hopefulness" that God will act, not that He won't. There are so many people hungry and dying for someone to speak truth into their lives. We are living in unstable times and while the enemy may set us up to fail, God is setting us up to succeed. Every wind and wave of adversity that comes our way only provides opportunity to become more firm in our faith. Every time we get back up and take a stand the world is watching, and while there are some who may desire our destruction, there are many others holding their breath in hopeful anticipation that what we have told them all along really is true! May we give them every opportunity to believe and be ready when the opportunity presents itself to give the reason for the hope we have (reference 1 Peter 3:15).

Do people depend on us the way this king depended upon Daniel? Can they count on us to be in the secret place who we have presented ourselves to be in public? Do they know where the source of our strength and resolve comes from? King Darius knew that Daniel served His God first. He knew that Daniel's first priority was to God, not to him. Do the people around us know that they can count on us to pray? Are we so connected to God in prayer that those around us know they can call us at anytime and know that we will pray? Is our life so dependent upon God in prayer that when people share with us their burdens the first thing we do is pray before we offer any counsel or advice? Are we so marked by prayer we are looking for people to pray with? Do we depend upon God's Word when we pray? Are we not only looking for answers when we pray, but are we also willing to be the answer God uses?

Heavenly Father,
Thank You that we can approach
Your throne of grace with confidence
and find mercy and grace to help us in our time of need.
Thank You for Your promise that when we humble ourselves
before You, You will lift us up.
Forgive us when we expect a response from You,
but fail to respond to You when You always offer
only the best of Yourself to us.
Give us strength to stand and not give up
when the world unjustly accuses us
or when faced with impossible circumstances.
Teach us to pray no matter where we find ourselves
whether in palaces or prisons, realizing
that we are there by divine appointment.
May Your joy be our strength as we
sing Your praises that all the prisoners
and palace guards may hear and know that
we are not the captives,
because in Christ we have been made truly free.
Use the difficulties and trials we face
as a pathway to hope for the world
that desperately needs your mercy and grace.
In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Dinner - The Divine Result - (Feast on Daniel 6:19-28)

Daniel was in the lion's den, and yet it was the king who couldn't sleep. Daniel's life was so marked by dependence and trust in God that he could walk confidently through any door the Lord provided for him. Daniel knew that God's purposes would prevail, therefore he could face death with calm assurance. (reference Genesis 50:20). "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails" (Proverbs 19:21). Daniel knew that God is Sovereign. He knew that these evil men were not in charge of his life or his future. His life rested in God's hands. He kept his daily prayer appointment with God even in the lion's den. And while he prayed, the rest of the kingdom got little rest. The king was restless because he knew that what had happened to Daniel was unjust. He put his pride and reputation above Daniel's life, and spent the night anguishing over the reputation of Daniel's God, hoping that he would be saved miraculously when he, himself, had all the power to save Daniel by his own hand (How often do we, ourselves, look for a miraculous move of God when we have the answer right in the palm of our hands?!). Daniel's enemies, on the other hand, were probably up all night partying, rejoicing in their success.

God puts His faithful servants in the most impossible, unlikely, unexpected, incomprehensible, unexplainable situations so we will learn to trust Him. "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,' declares the LORD" (Isaiah 55:8). Trials are the hallmark of the Christian life. We should come to expect them. And be prepared for them (through fasting and prayer!). We cannot expect to follow Jesus Christ and come forth as pure gold looking like our Savior by trying to avoid every troubling situation or run from every difficult circumstance. The Lord does not want us to escape the fiery trial, He wants to take us through it, and astound us with His goodness and grace as we come to the other side smelling like a rose instead of like a barbecue. "My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one" (John 17:15). Our eternity is secure if Jesus is our Savior. Our life is in His hands, if we are willing to surrender it to Him. He gives us opportunity everyday to respond to Him with faith and trust and total dependence. One of the simplest ways we can show God how much we love Him and need Him and want Him is through prayer. Sadly, for far too many people who call themselves Christians praying and reading God's Word are not even part of their daily routine. God's greatest desire is for us to know Him, but how can we know Him if we don't spend any time with Him?

God found in Daniel a trustworthy servant who He could use to perform one of the most miraculous displays of His power. All because Daniel prayed. Daniel did what was natural to him. Daniel prayed three times a day. Daniel was given the audience of earthly kings because he had the attention and audience of the King of Kings. Daniel was not spared pain and suffering throughout his lifetime. But each time he responded, as God expected from his trusted servant, Daniel was promoted to greater levels of influence. And each time Daniel was promoted the name of God was proclaimed and gloried. Daniel did what he did for God's glory alone. He did not seek out worldly wealth and acclaim, he simply sought to please the Lord. God did not spare Daniel from the trials of life, but his prayer life prepared him to walk through them with perfect faith. God may have blessed Daniel for his obedience and devotion, but not everyone will be placed in such a prestigious position before kings, however we all have the promise that in the end we will stand before our King.

God will not spare us the fiery trial of affliction if it means when we come forth as pure gold the testimony of our lives will result in countless others being spared an eternity in the fiery pit of hell. We have a promise of eternity in the presence of God and it should be our utmost pursuit to spend time with the One we will one day stand face to face with. Our greatest joy should be to know our Lord so deeply and intimately now so when He welcomes us home He will be looking at a sweet reflection of Himself. Right now the world is looking on and watching for our response when the trials come our way. How do we handle the troubling medical report, or the negative report about our child at school, or the loss of a job, or the foreclosure on our home, or the death of a family member, or the betrayal of a spouse, or the economic downturn, or the conflict at church, or the wounds of a friend, or the needs of a neighbor? What is our RESPONSE? Do we ignore the problem or run away from it? Do we complain to everyone we know or gossip about it? Do we point the finger at the speck in the eye of the world, while we ignore the protruding plank in our own eye? Do we take the time to reflect upon the situation and ask God to give us His perspective? Do we turn to God's Word and ask for His help and guidance? Do we surrender it to God? Do we pray?

Every day we have countless opportunities to respond to the work of God in our lives. Everything He allows in our lives is to draw us closer to Him. Everything He does is to magnify His name and to further His kingdom's work. Today as we end our day in prayer let us consider the responses we give when God sends blessings and burdens our way. Do we stubbornly kick at the goads and place ourselves as an obstacle in God's path of the work that God is attempting to do in our lives and in the lives of others, or do we surrender fully in the presence of impossible pain to allow Him to have His way with us so that His life might flow through us and touch the life of another hurting soul? Do we respond with gratitude and thanksgiving when the showers of blessing and deliverance come our way, or do we respond like entitled spoiled children who think we deserve to have everything our way? Let us pray that everyday we will make the most of every moment and not miss a single opportunity to spend time with our Lord in His Word and before His throne in prayer. The divine result of our prayers will be that God will get the glory! There is no better reason to pray. And there is no activity as powerful as prayer!

Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the opportunity to spend time with You today.
I apologize for the many times I am too busy or distracted
to just sit in Your Presence and read Your Word.
Thank you for all that You have revealed to me today.
I am grateful for these quiet times with You and am
now longing for my next divine appointment with You.
May I begin and end each day with You
and throughout the day may the conversation
on my lips be about You.
Help us all to no longer waste time speaking of or doing things
that don't further Your Kingdom
or bring glory to Your name.
Thank you for the trials of this life,
and the burdens of my friends,
and the needs of this nation and world,
that bring me to this place of prayer.
Because there is no place I would rather be,
then on my knees with You in prayer.
In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Thank you to all those faithful intercessors, some who I have had the privilege of praying with, who have stood in the gap and kept the prayer altar aflame for years when so many others were far too busy to pray. God is faithful. He will do whatever it takes to keep us in the place of prayer. For it is on our knees that we do the greatest damage to the enemy's plans and do the greatest work for God's Kingdom. God will not spare His children the fiery furnace or the lion's den if in the end it will mean the result of an entire nation professing the name of Jesus' Christ and giving glory to His name. May we continue in prayer so we too will be prepared when we too will have to respond for such a time as this.

Thank you all who fasted and prayed today and who will continue to carry that torch from this day forward. May God find in you a faithful servant like Daniel whom He can entrust to stand before kings and the mouths of the hungry lions. And when you open your mouth to speak may He use you to nourish them with the knowledge of Jesus Christ that their mouths will be used for nothing more than to proclaim the praises of the King of Kings! Be Blessed! Keep Praying!

Waiting Patiently and Praying Fervently,
Traci A. Alexander
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