Ryan Dobson: You're listening to Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk. Today, we are featuring the second part of an interview from the Ministry Special 10th Anniversary Collection. This interview was recorded in 2016. When Dr. Dobson sat down with prayer warrior and national faith leader Anne Graham Lotz. The New York Times named Anne one of the five most influential evangelists of her generation. She was referred to as the best preacher in the family, by her father, the late Billy Graham. Anne Graham Lotz speaks around the globe with the wisdom and certainty of years spent studying God's word.
I'm Ryan Dobson, and I'm here to introduce this special program, which explores the concept, the gift, and the action of prayer. Given our world situation, you're probably praying more often for our nation, our leaders, and for the safety of families everywhere who might need encouragement. My dad's interview with Anne Graham Lotz is something you'll most definitely find encouraging. So let's get back into it. Here's the completion of a special interview entitled, The Daniel Prayer, from the Family Talk archives, for you and in honor of Family Talks' 10th anniversary this month, right here on Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk.
Dr. Dobson: Anne, you were with us last time. And that program really touched my heart about the gospel of Jesus Christ and how it is foretold in the Old Testament. And Daniel had a vision of the sin and depravity of mankind and the offer of reconciliation and forgiveness. And he prayed a prayer begging the Lord to hear his cries and his prayers for the children of Israel, who had sinned grievously against the Lord. Let's recount that just a little bit for those that didn't hear yesterday. When Daniel prayed that prayer, they were in bondage, they had been overrun by Nebuchadnezzar, Jerusalem had. And they'd been many of them killed. And those that survived were taken in captivity and marched all the way to Babylon. And Daniel was a young man at the time, and he became a slave to Nebuchadnezzar. Tell us more about him.
Anne Graham Lotz: He was an amazing person, because when he was taken into captivity, he would be separated from his family, from his country, from everything that was familiar to him. And he was now owned by Nebuchadnezzar, who was the King of the world. If you want to put it that way. Saddam Hussein wanted to be like Nebuchadnezzar. That tells you, Nebuchadnezzar was-
Dr. Dobson: In the same area.
Anne Graham Lotz: ... yeah, wicked, ruthless. He had absolute control over everybody and everything. He ruled the world. And Daniel was taken in as a captive from Jerusalem. What Nebuchadnezzar did the first time he attacked Jerusalem, he took the best of the best. So these would be the cream of the Israelites who would come and serve him. They would be his professors, his lawyers, his medical people, his wise men. So that tells us that Daniel was brilliant, probably very physically, very fit and handsome. And one of the things they did was emasculate him.
His immediate superior was the chief of the eunuchs. So he was hurt in that way. And then they changed his name to a name that gave tribute to a pagan God. And then they told him he would have to eat food that was sacrificed to idols, which would mean every time he ate, he would be giving tribute to the gods. So he couldn't prevent them changing his name. He couldn't prevent the emasculation. But he said he wasn't going to eat their food. And I just love the fact that Daniel, here's this young, he's probably 15 years old, and he made the decision he would not defile himself.
So, he made an agreement with the guard to give him just vegetables and fruit and water that had not been sacrificed to idols. After he was tested several weeks later, he came out better than all, they're about 200 young men, he came out better than all the other young men. He and his three brothers, or three friends, Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego. And then God blessed Daniel, gave him favor with Nebuchadnezzar. And then the next thing you find out is that Nebuchadnezzar has a dream one night. He can't remember it, but it was terrifying. He brought in his wise men and said, "Tell me the dream and the interpretation."
They said, "You tell us the dream. Then we'll tell you the interpretation." He said, "No, I can't remember it. You tell me the dream." They said, "Nobody can do that." And he said, "Then I'm going to kill everybody." And Nebuchadnezzar was going to kill all of his wise men because they couldn't tell him the dream he'd had the night before and Daniel found out and he said, "Just give me a night."
Anne Graham Lotz: And so his friends prayed and fasted and he went, I guess he went to sleep, next morning, God gave him the dream and the interpretation-
Dr. Dobson: His life was on the line.
Anne Graham Lotz: His life and the life of all of his friends.
Dr. Dobson: If he couldn't do that.
Anne Graham Lotz: That's right.
Dr. Dobson: And Nebuchadnezzar didn't give him any clue as to what he had dreamed.
Anne Graham Lotz: No, I mean, it's just an amazing story. And there was one story like that after another, but when Daniel put God first, God blessed Daniel and favored him. So he served as the number two man under four world emperors. And Belshazzar very briefly. It was for one night. And then Belshazzar was killed by the Medes and Persians. But under Cyrus and then ... or Darius and then Cyrus, he served as the number two person because he was brilliant and he had the blessing and favor of God, but his heart yearned for his people.
The main reason, Dr. Dobson, was because God's name was at stake in Jerusalem. And he says that in his prayer, that all of the nations of the world, they looked at Jerusalem, they saw what happened to Jerusalem and they mocked Jerusalem's God, because if your God is God, we don't want him because our gods take better care of us than yours takes care of you. And so it was God's name at stake. And so for the glory of God's name, he was brokenhearted for his nation and for his people. And so 67 years now he'd been in captivity, serving Nebuchadnezzar, serving Belshazzar, serving Darius-
Dr. Dobson: So he must have been 80 or over.
Anne Graham Lotz: In his mid 80s probably. And he was reading scripture, according to Jeremiah. And God had said through Jeremiah that, "After 70 years, I'll bring you back from captivity if you seek me with all of your heart." And so Daniel must've calculated very quickly. "Well, I've been in captivity 67 years. That means in three more years. If God keeps his word, then he would set us free. But we have to seek him with all of our hearts." And that's what triggered his prayer.
Dr. Dobson: Which is in chapter nine.
Anne Graham Lotz: Chapter nine of the Book of Daniel.
Dr. Dobson: And you read it for us yesterday, verses four to 20-
Anne Graham Lotz: To 20.
Dr. Dobson: ... that's the answer.
Anne Graham Lotz: Yes, that's right.
Dr. Dobson: The answer came.
Anne Graham Lotz: And the answer, it's thrilling because it says in verse 20, he said, "While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the Lord, my God, for his Holy Hill. While I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I'd seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice and instructed me and said to me, 'Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I've come to tell you for you are highly esteemed.'" I just love-
Dr. Dobson: God heard that prayer from heaven and while he was still praying, he provided the answer and sent Gabriel to tell him what the answer was.
Anne Graham Lotz: Yeah. It was a prayer that moved heaven. And I love the fact that Gabriel tells Daniel, "You're a man highly esteemed." And this Daniel Prayer is a prayer that moves heaven and changes, not just nations, but changes hearts and changes people one at a time. And God said to Daniel, through Gabriel, "You are highly esteemed." When we pray for others like that, God holds us in high esteem.
Dr. Dobson: It was a fervent, agonized prayer calling for God to forgive the people for their sins. He named them and he begged for forgiveness.
Anne Graham Lotz: And I love the fact all the way through the prayer he uses plural pronouns. So he doesn't say, "their sin, they've been wicked, they haven't done right," he says, we-
Dr. Dobson: Our.
Anne Graham Lotz: ... yes, "our sin, our iniquities." And as far as I can tell, Daniel was such a righteous man. In fact, when his enemies searched for something they could blame him for and accuse him of to the King at that time, they could find nothing except that he prayed three times a day. And that's what they used against him. But Daniel was righteous, he was blameless. And yet he says, "Our sin, our iniquities."
Dr. Dobson: Let's imagine that scene now. He's on his face, praying in the upper room, wherever he was held. And he was calling out to God. And as you said, tears streaming down his face. And at that moment, Gabriel appears to him and he comes to say, "You're a man highly esteemed of God." Wouldn't you love to hear the message from God saying, "Jim, you're highly esteemed."
Anne Graham Lotz: Well, let me tell you that. Okay. And I want to say that to Shirley, who's sitting here in this studio because you all have stood in the gap for our nation. So if I can say on God's behalf that you are a man and a woman who are highly esteemed by God-
Dr. Dobson: We were talking last night about Isaiah drawing close to the Lord and saying, "I'm a man of unclean lips. Woe is me." That's the way I feel. There is no righteousness in His presence, is there?
Anne Graham Lotz: That's right.
Dr. Dobson: We told you a story last night about being on a ski trip in Mammoth, California. And we left on Thursday and we skied Friday and Saturday, and Sunday morning we went to a little Baptist church. I think there were eight people there that day and the minister got up and preached. And he said that day, "I used to feel like I was a man of honor before God. I feel like I have kept the faith and I've done what he asked me to do. And I felt like the Lord was lucky to get me." And he said, "The longer I've lived, the more I feel like if I can just take out the trash, if I can just be a doorkeeper-"
Anne Graham Lotz: In the house of my Lord.
Dr. Dobson: ... "For the lord. That's the way I feel about it."
Anne Graham Lotz: Yeah, that's right.
Dr. Dobson: But I do want to hear those words, "well done, thou good and faithful servant." All right. Now, Gabriel has arrived with a message. What does he say to him?
Anne Graham Lotz: Well, the message that he gives him is actually one that I don't go into in the ... we know that God answered the prayer because three years later, the children of Israel are set free. He gives Daniel another word that we go into ... actually, in the book, I end the book with an epilogue on Daniel chapter 10, because Daniel chapter 10, Daniel is praying about this message that he received. He didn't understand it. And he was very upset. He knew it was serious, but he didn't understand it. And so he's wrestling with this prayer and the answer to it, and God doesn't answer. So in chapter nine, God answers before he finishes praying. In chapter 10, it's like three weeks and he doesn't get an answer.
And then finally, when the angel comes, he said that he had been detained in the invisible world. And it opens our eyes to the fact that when we pray, Dr. Dobson, we're entering into spiritual warfare. That what we're entering into is not just something we can see, and feel, and taste and touch. There's an invisible world that will resist our prayers, that will try to keep us from praying, that will discourage us in prayer. Because our enemy, the enemy of our souls has his own agenda. And somehow when we pray, God uses our prayers to accomplish his will on this Earth.
Dr. Dobson: That's one of the most curious scriptures in the entire Bible to me. Imagine, God has already said, "I'm going to answer your prayer." So the power of the universe is in his hands and he says, "Daniel, you're esteemed, I'm going to answer your prayer." And yet Gabriel and his forces were in a tremendous battle that delayed him for three weeks. That's curious to me.
Anne Graham Lotz: And I think one of the encouraging things is that when we pray, sometimes God answers immediately. And other times when we pray, we don't get the answer immediately. But what we know is that God answers prayer. And I think sometimes the answers come and we don't recognize them because they're different than the way we prayed. And not to get technical, but I'll tell you what Daniel's issue was. God had said, "After 70 years, I'll set you free." So after 70 years, God set them free. So Daniel chapter 10 is like six years after that. And the city and the temple had not been restored.
So his prayer was, "God, you said after 70 years, you would set us free and that you would restore the temple." And so what he wasn't calculating was that from the first time Nebuchadnezzar attacked and Daniel was taken into captivity, 70 years from that he set the people free. But from the last time Nebuchadnezzar attacked, which was 22 years later, 70 years from that was when the temple actually was rebuilt. But Daniel didn't understand the answer because it came in two separate parts. So that's just getting a little technical. So, I use that to say that God can answer our prayers and sometimes we don't quite understand the answer. And at that point we just trust the Lord and Daniel did.
And I'd like to go back to that scene when Gabriel comes, because it was in his upstairs room where Daniel chapter six tells us, "Daniel went three times a day." So I think I'm doing good if I ever set aside time once a day, but three times a day, he went upstairs, he prayed on his knees, he opened the windows to Jerusalem, and then he prayed. An application of myself, I have a set aside place at home so that I go there at least once a day, I try to pray a portion on my knees and it can be worship, and we talked about that last night. It's hard for me to pray the entire prayer on my knees, but I can start out in prayer and praise and worship on my knees.
Dr. Dobson: And you do not consider yourself a prayer warrior.
Anne Graham Lotz: No, that's right.
Dr. Dobson: That's strange to me.
Anne Graham Lotz: Well, that's just the truth.
Dr. Dobson: I know how you love the Lord. And I know that you're a woman of prayer. How can you not see yourself among those who pray fervently.
Anne Graham Lotz: I pray because I need the Lord. And I pray every moment because I'm very dependent on God. But I believe there's some people that are exceptional in the way God gifts them. I'm not that. So this book that I've written is for people like me, who maybe wouldn't consider themselves prayer warriors, but they want to pray effectively. And Daniel had a place for prayer. He prayed on his knees. He opened his windows towards Jerusalem. To me, that's opening my heart towards heaven. I want to keep my focus on home, going home. And he did it, even though he knew people were outside trying to peek in to see what he was doing. And actually that one time when he prayed and they saw what he was doing, it was life threatening because they threw him in the lions' den as a result, but God protected him.
And we were talking last night again about the fact that there may come a time when people will try to catch us worshiping our God, catch us in prayer, catch us reading our Bible, catch us sharing the gospel. And they may say, "If you share the gospel, and if you say that Jesus is the only way to God, the cross is the only way to be saved. The only way to get to heaven is through Jesus. Then that's hate speech, and we're going to put you away somewhere." We're going to have to say, "We are who we are. We're not going to hide behind a closed window. We're going to open our windows and we're going to be who we are and let the chips fall." And Daniel was thrown into the lions' den and God sent another angel to shut the lions' mouths. And he was delivered.
Anne Graham Lotz: And Daniel was an amazing person and he knew his God and his God knew him. And he lived his life for God's glory. And you and I benefit from just eavesdropping on his prayer and his conversation with God.
Dr. Dobson: What is a prayer warrior?
Anne Graham Lotz: Maybe different people have different ways to describe that. But a prayer warrior to me, I have a daughter who is so sensitive to the spirit that He reveals things to her in the night. He'll wake her up to pray. He'll confirm it maybe two or three times. She says, when something comes to her twice like that, then she knows he's telling her to pray. We've seen dramatic answers to her prayers. There's just the sensitivity of the Spirit. She's a gifted Bible teacher, but she's also gifted in that sensitivity to the Spirit.
Dr. Dobson: My father was a man like that. I think your dad probably was too.
Anne Graham Lotz: Well, my mother was, yeah.
Dr. Dobson: Your mother was.
Anne Graham Lotz: Yeah. My mother was.
Dr. Dobson: Some of the most dramatic answers to prayer for Shirley and me have come when we were not emotional. We were not particularly inspired. We just got on our knees at the end of a long day and we were both fatigued. And we said, "Lord, we need to hear from you." And it was amazing. If I can tell you one example, there was a time when we had just finished building Focus on the Family, in my previous life, if you will. And we were out of money, we paid cash for that entire campus. The board wanted us to do that. We didn't borrow anything. But then contributions dropped and we were under severe pressure. And we came home one night, overwhelmed with it all, and got on our knees beside our bed. We're almost too tired to pray. Have you ever done that?
Anne Graham Lotz: Yes.
Dr. Dobson: And just said, "Lord, this is a time when we really need to hear from you, would you send a million dollars from some place? Because that's what we need." And we named a person who I said, "We're not going to talk to him about it. He's never given to us and you can talk to him." And a week later we got a check for a million dollars from that person. And it just showed me that sometimes, it's not wailing before the Lord. Sometimes it's a sincerity of your heart.
Anne Graham Lotz: That's right. And he looks on the heart, doesn't He?
Dr. Dobson: Yeah. Well, what I love about your book, The Daniel Prayer, is that it's a prayer for all of us, for revival, but it's also a prayer for this great country. We've been so blessed. Our founding fathers were led step by step in the creation of the Constitution and this government. And a lot of it came out of scripture. And we've departed from it. We've forgotten it. And we're about to disrespect the very words that they wrote and it's time for us to get on our knees before the Lord.
Anne Graham Lotz: Our country may go right ahead and implode. We may disintegrate. But it's a time for followers of Jesus to pray and seize the opportunity to give other people the reason for the hope that we have. God is in control. He is in charge. He's still seated on the throne.
Dr. Dobson: You're not fearful, are you?
Anne Graham Lotz: I'm not fearful. I'm not fearful. I'm expectant. And I pray that God would bring revival. I pray that we would have another outpouring of His Spirit, that many people would be saved because this prayer, when Daniel talks about, "Oh Lord, we've sinned, we're filled with iniquity. We're shamed." That can apply to an individual. And so the same God that can forgive a nation can forgive a individual sinner. And he sent Jesus to take away our sin, that when we confess our sin, he will forgive us and cleanse us.
If we invite Him to come into our hearts, He comes in and lives within us and gives us a new life, a new purpose and a relationship with Himself. He restores us. It's not revival and it's really not restoration. It's regeneration. Where we're recreated. We can become a new creation. We can be born again. We can start over. We can have a fresh start. So Jerusalem and Judah in a sense are an example of what God wants to do with individuals too. He wants us to be restored in our relationship with Him that He might bless us.
Dr. Dobson: Yeah. Anne, you know what my most fervent prayer is? I mean, there are so many things to pray about today. I pray for the next generation that's coming up. They're growing up in a world much farther gone at moral decline than a world in which I was born, certainly. And they don't know the Lord, and He's being mocked in front of them, they can't read their Bibles openly without being criticized. And it's going to probably get more severe than that. And we need to be in prayer for these kids. And even those that are young adults, because they've experienced a lot of the same things. Do you have that same passion?
Anne Graham Lotz: I do, because I have grandchildren, I have a teenage grandchild and one that's almost a teenager. But I will tell you, Dr. Dobson, that what's happening in our world today is no worse than the first century. No worse than Daniel's day. And God is still God. And so we're seeing a transition. We're seeing the transition from a nation that had a semblance of faith in God anyway, and we had a moral standard. And we're seeing that disintegrate. Whereas Daniel and some of these others were plunged into a nation that always had been that way. And so that's a little bit of a difference, but God can preserve our children and our grandchildren.
I think it's very imperative for the grandparents and the parents to wake up and not leave teaching and training our children to a professional like in church or school, or they may not get it. That's our responsibility to teach our children how to pray and get answers, to teach our children how to read their Bibles and hear God speak. To teach our children how to share their faith. To lead our children to the cross so that our children are born again and in God's family. So it's a time to get very serious about our relationship with God and not only our own walk, but how we impress that on the hearts and lives of our children and the people around us.
Dr. Dobson: We're talking Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of Billy and Ruth Graham. The people who have done more, I think, to bring people to the Lord than any persons who have ever lived outside of Christ, because they've had access to the media in a way that the great ministers of the past didn't. And now that's been passed along to you, Anne, and I thank you for writing this book, The Daniel Prayer: The Prayer That Moves Heaven and Changes Nations. And I trust that God will continue to bless this, but also bless you. I pray that he will keep you healthy and strong. He's called you to a big job and you're doing it the best you can and so effectively. And I thank you for putting us on your itinerary and coming by to see us.
Anne Graham Lotz: Thank you, God bless you. It's been a joy to talk with you.
Ryan Dobson: Two incredible interviews about our daily need for prayer and its power in our lives. I'm Ryan Dobson, and you've been listening to my dad's classic conversation with Anne Graham Lotz. I hope these interviews have challenged you to rethink your approach to communicating with God. Learn more about Anne's book, The Daniel Prayer, by visiting Drjamesdobson.org. Once there, go to the broadcast page and you can follow Anne's ministry or request a copy of this entire discussion. Find all of this when you go to the broadcast page at Drjamesdobson.org. This has been another entry in Family Talks 10 Year Anniversary Retrospective. Listen tomorrow to hear my dad's popular conversation with author and conservative talk show host Eric Metaxas, it's a fascinating discussion you won't want to miss, on tomorrow's edition of Family Talk.
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