During the revival days of my youth, a phrase was often used to describe certain Christians: "He has the touch of God upon him." Or, "She has really been touched of God."
These particular saints were easily recognized because they were unusual, even among those who followed the Lord. They were on fire, wholly given to God, detached from the things of the world. They were God-possessed, brokenhearted, grievers for lost souls. And you knew this about them: They had a touch of God upon their lives!
In those days we had what were known as, "camp meetings." Everybody looked eagerly toward camp-meeting time — three weeks spent in tents and a big, old, wooden tabernacle.
Services were held in the morning, afternoon and evening. Usually an unknown preacher spoke in the morning, and the afternoon featured a better-known speaker. In the evening, we heard the best-known evangelist. People flocked to the evening meetings to hear this featured speaker.
Almost always, the man was eloquent — experienced, intelligent, fiery, educated, and well-accepted among the people. After the meeting, people would mill around the snack building, congratulating him and telling him how powerful his sermon was.
But after two or three days, the camp would be buzzing with excitement about the morning meetings. It seemed some young, unknown pastor of a small church had stirred things up — and fire was falling! People were not able to get through the meeting. Instead, they were running to the altar area, falling under conviction and repenting.
Finally, things would get so exciting that even the main speaker had to come and see what all the noise was about. But usually he would find the speaker unimpressive. The young man was often uneducated; he mispronounced words and said nothing very profound.
But everyone else who heard him knew he was different. He had something that touched them — and the well-known evangelist would wonder, "What is it this young man has?" It was the touch of God upon his life!
He had spent days alone with God. He spoke with authority. He opened up the heart of Jesus through the Bible. His words were like burning coals. No one patted him on the back for his messages, and no one wanted to socialize with him. It was because they really didn't see the man speaking. Instead, they left the meetings saying, "Come hear a man who's got the touch of God."
Preachers and evangelists weren't the only ones I saw marked by God's touch. There were also laymen — ordinary, hardworking farmers, housewives, grandfathers and grandmothers. A grandfather with the touch of God usually was referred to as "Daddy" I remember Daddy Dodge, Daddy Myers, Daddy Smith.
These were simple men whose lives were given to God, and they always had a word from heaven. They were encouragers to the preacher — and often they knew more than the preacher did. You knew they were shut in with the Lord, and that He had put His hand on them.
The grandmothers were called "Mother": Mother Greenaway, Mother Baily. These were prayer warriors, intercessors, lovers of lost souls! They usually came into church praying under their breath, interceding for hospital and nursing-home visits. They prayed for everything. And they were sought out by the younger women for spiritual advice — because they too had been "touched by God."
The Prophet Daniel Was a Man Touched by God.
Often when we study the lives of men like Daniel, we become overwhelmed. We think, "No wonder he had the touch of God. He was disciplined, courageous, especially gifted. He was not an ordinary believer like me. How can his life be an example to me?"
But the Bible says all the Old Testament characters were subject to like passions as we are. They all were human and showed the frailties of the human condition. No, Daniel is no fictional man — and the book of Daniel is not a fable about fiery furnaces and a lion's den. This man is our example. His story is meant to teach us how to touch God — and be touched by Him.
Daniel represents God's holy remnant in an evil time. And his captivity in Babylon illustrates our present struggle here in modern Babylon. Daniel shows us today how to persevere in seeking God, until His hand is upon us as well.
The book of Daniel tells me three things:
- If Daniel can stay true to God in a day of apostasy and idolatry, it is possible for us today, no matter how wicked the times become.
- If Daniel can not only keep his faith, but also become so engrossed with the Lord that He comes down and touches him, it is possible for us today as well.
- The same God who touched Daniel can touch us — if we will pay the same price Daniel paid.
My question to you is, "Do you want a special miraculous touch of God on you?" If you want only to be saved — only to have daily devotions and to do what is right — then this message is not for you.
But if you hunger for more of God— if you want Him to lay hold of your life — there is a price! Consider the price Daniel paid:
1. Daniel "Set His Face to Seek the Lord With All His Strength And Will" (Daniel 9:3-4)
We know Daniel already was a praying man. Scripture says he prayed morning, noon and night: "And his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime" (Daniel 6:10).
Even when Daniel knew it could cost him his life — when others were listening and ready to report him — he prayed on. "These men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God" (6:11). Daniel was so faithful in his devotion to God that even the king said of him, "Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee" (6:16).
Daniel's prayer life had turned him into a man of great faith. When he was lowered into a lion's den, he didn't utter a word. But his faith in God shut the lions' mouths and instead made them pillows for him to sleep on! When he came out, the king attributed Daniel's deliverance to his faith: "No manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God" (6:23).
Daniel's life was indeed blessed. He walked in the fear of God and in revelation. God spoke to him of the great mysteries of the future. He walked in holiness, separated unto God, untouched by the apostasy and wickedness about him. He had a heart that yearned for Jerusalem.
You may be saying, "Lord, let me just have that, and I'll never want more." But even that wasn't enough for Daniel. He discovered there was more, much more. He could have spent his remaining years praying three times a day, studying the Scriptures and taking a stand for God. But instead he said, "My generation is in a crisis. And it's going to take more than ordinary, daily praying!"
You see, something happened to this man of prayer. He was reading a copy of a prophecy that had been smuggled into Babylon, penned recently by a contemporary named Jeremiah. And while Daniel was reading, he came to a passage that must have leaped off the page: "For thus saith the Lord, that after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place [Jerusalem]" (Jeremiah 29:10).
A truth smote Daniel's heart: "God's time has come; He is ready to deliver and save us. We stand at the very time in history for a glorious outpouring. But we are not ready! We are lazy, indulgent, idolatrous. We have this great promise — yet nobody is taking it seriously!"
Fear gripped Daniel's heart, and he began to agonize before the Lord. Nothing would be the same for him after that. He soon came to this conclusion: The times demanded more than ordinary devotion, ordinary praying, or simply doing what was right. It was time for an extraordinary, sacrificial laying hold of God. He had to lay everything aside for a season — to fast, to be humbled, to set his heart to seek God!
Why does God use our prayers to move His heart? If He gave us great and precious promises, why can't we just take them by faith? Why must we weep, beseech, fast and mourn for something that is already secured?
It is because God wants us to know the glory of His divine cause-and-effect! He's saying, "I want my children to see that midnight is upon them. Where are the young men and women, the grandfathers and grandmothers, the parents who will step out and say, 'God, touch me — set me apart to seek Your face'?"
Yet this is why we have no revival in America. We heed God's calling to fast, pray and seek Him — but later we back off because we are not willing to pay the price.
Many times in the Bible God says, "I had My heart set, but you would not...." He had something prepared and said, "Here it is — now, come and claim it!" Beloved, He does this because He knows He can trust His promises only to those who value them enough to lay hold of them!
Daniel got hold of God as if the whole promise depended on his praying — as if, in fact, there were no promise at all. He agonized in prayer as if he had never heard a word about a soon-coming deliverance. He fasted and prayed with a greater intensity than in all his praying lifetime. The fact is, he prayed even more after the promise was given. God promised Israel, "I will visit you...causing you to return...then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you" (Jeremiah 29:10-12).
Nehemiah also got desperate before God, even though he had a promise of total victory before he started: "And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven" (Nehemiah 1:4). He didn't sit around saying, "Praise God, the promise is before me." He wept and mourned before God!
Ezra had the same glorious promises of restoration and victory. Yet still he "prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it" (Ezra 7:10). God had said to Ezra, "I will restore...." Yet when Ezra saw the sin and compromise of Israel all around him, he didn't just say, "God said it. I'll just stand on His promise till I see it come to pass."
Instead, Ezra said, "I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard...and...I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the Lord my God, and said, 'Oh my God, I am ashamed to blush and to lift up my fact to thee...for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens" (Ezra 9:3-6).
Today God needs ordinary Christians to prepare themselves for His outpouring, to set their hearts to seek the Lord as Daniel did. We will not lay hold of His promised, last-day outpouring unless we set aside a time of seeking God, as if it all depends on us. It won't happen until God raises up intercessors and puts fire in their bones!
Yet we do not want the discipline of being shut in with God. We don't want to lose sleep, we don't want to fast. We want to settle for the status quo.
God wake us up! Let some of us get so hungry to be touched by Your hand, so set on fire and burdened for Your will and purpose, that You will come forth and pour out Your Spirit mightily!
2. Daniel Agonized Alone, But Not for Selfish Reasons. His Burden Was Not for Himself, but for The House of God!
You can hear the loneliness in Daniel's voice: "In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth...and I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. Therefore I was left alone" (Daniel 10:2-3, 7-8).
Daniel agonized all alone. Evidently there were others who had set their hearts on God as Daniel had. But, like so many who say, "We're going to have a great time of prayer and seeking God" — one by one, they fell away till there was one man left: Daniel.
Beloved, God is calling you to set your face like a flint. Others may fall away, but you must go on without them, because they do not share the vision. "Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength" (Daniel 10:8).
Are you willing to go alone as Daniel did? Can you say, "I don't know if anyone else is going with me — but I'm going to set my heart on the face of God till I see His glory come to His house"?
Saints, the church today does not see all that God has promised us because we waver! We vacillate between hot and cold. One day we have the burden, and the next we say, "Where is it?" You may claim, "I'm waiting for the Holy Ghost to put the burden in me." But the Bible says, "You prepare your heart!"
An athlete preparing for the Olympics sacrifices eight, ten and twelve hours every day for years. He eats special foods and works night and day, straining and enduring great pain, all to win a gold medal. If a human being can discipline himself to obtain a crown of fleshly glory, why can't we discipline ourselves for a crown of heavenly gold?
Daniel did not agonize over some personal need. He prayed for God to shine upon His church! "Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake.... O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake...for thy city and thy people are called by thy name" (Daniel 9:17,19).
Daniel did not pray and agonize for more revelation and power, or more fullness of God for himself. Rather, he humbled himself and confessed to blackness of heart. He wanted God to be honored on earth. He wanted pure worship and a return to holiness. His faithful devotion was totally "for Your sake, O Lord." He grieved over Israel's sins, saying, "This is Your house, Your sanctuary, the city of holy Jerusalem. God, restore it to Your glory!"
Try to imagine this unusual scene: Daniel goes on all alone, mourning and weeping over sin. He prays until he has no strength left. Finally he falls to the ground, face down, unable to pray or weep any longer, or even to utter another word. That's when Jesus appears to him (Daniel 10:5).
Yes, Jesus is standing nearby — the same vision John later sees on the Isle of Patmos! Daniel is exhausted when suddenly the Lord draws nigh: "And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright" (10:10-11). Imagine — the Lord laid His hand on Daniel's head and called him beloved!
Daniel didn't have the strength to utter anything — until God touched him. Then he had a fire in his bosom, a new strength.
In the other passages that say Daniel was touched by God, Scripture says, "And the word came...direction came...." You see, direction comes to those men or women who set their hearts to receive the touch of God. They don't live in confusion; they hear clearly the word God sends to them.
The reason many Christians today are confused is because they have not pursued the Lord in prayer. They have not given Him time or sought His face. I tell you, if you will set your heart like Daniel and get the burden for God's glory — not giving up, and going on until you can go no further — you will get what Daniel got: the touch of God!
3. Daniel Knew That Every New Crisis Required a Fresh Touch From God.
Daniel had experienced the touch of God throughout his walk with the Lord. Whenever a crisis came, he again would shut himself up with God and get a fresh revelation and a new touch.
In Daniel 8, during the third year of Belshazzar's reign, Daniel is on his face in deep agony of soul, receiving an end-time vision. He is "touched...and set...upright" (8:18). In Daniel 9 we find him again on his face agonizing, in yet another crisis. It is now during the reign of King Darius, and again Daniel has set his heart to seek God. Once again he is alone, prostrate and weak — and again he is touched!
In Chapter 10, Daniel is now nearly ninety years old, a wise, respected man of God who has weathered many crises. But he refuses to sit back and rest on past victories. He has set his heart again, as if he had never carried the burden of the Lord before. Like a rookie soldier, he holds nothing back: he returns to fasting, weeping and mourning. He wants a new touch, a new work of the Spirit.
Daniel isn't saying, "Lord, I've put in my time. Let me live out my days in quiet, undisturbed devotion. I'll pray that you raise up some young prophet in my place." No! Daniel recognizes the responsibility of mature believers to set the example — especially those who are ministers of God's Word.
He knew from his history with God how to lay hold of God. He knew that when God wants to move, He first calls upon those with experience — those who have been touched by Him in the past, who know how to reach Him by saying, "I've got to lay hold of God again!"
Beloved, God is getting ready to pour out His Spirit. And He comes first to the Christian who has been an intercessor — the one who in the past has shut himself in with Him and received the glory of His touch. You too may have experienced His divine touch in your past.
Now the Spirit of God is saying to you, "Will you once again chasten yourself before Me? Will you set your heart to seek Me as never before? This is a new day, with bigger problems. Will you be My vessel once more?"
Once more, Daniel chastens himself to seek God anew — and God responds! "Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words" (Daniel 10:12).
Dear saint, the moment you say, "Yes, Lord, I'll stand, in the gap and pay the price," God hears you! And when God gets a remnant who'll really do that, He'll shake heaven and earth. No demon in hell can withstand the power of what God wants to do. But He'll come first to touch you!
Listen to God's own explanation for His coming to touch Daniel: "You chastened yourself before your God...." (10:12). The Hebrew word for chasten here means "You paid attention and responded. You browbeat your flesh into submission. You afflicted yourself for Me. You abased yourself to seek Me."
In Daniel 10:18, the fresh touch of God comes to Daniel again: "Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man and he strengthened me." Daniel was no longer alone; now he had free-flowing communion with the Lord Himself!
That is what I want — a new touch of God, something fresh. Why? Not so that I can be looked up to by men, nor to be powerful or revered — but to be strengthened by Him, like Daniel was!
I've had four amazing touches of God in my life. The first was at camp meeting when I was eight. The second was when God first called me to New York City. The Holy Spirit came on me and said, "David, I'm calling you to prayer." I said, "Yes, God" — and I began to weep like I never wept. After three days, I felt the burden of the Lord in a way I'd never felt before.
Then one day, I went home, picked up Life magazine and saw the faces of seven young men who'd committed murder. And God said, "Go to New York. This is what it's all about."
Years later, I had a third touch. I began to feel a pull, a restlessness — a divine dissatisfaction. God said, "Go into your closet again and seek Me."
I spent three weeks in deep prayer, agonizing before God, feeling His grief over the church and His hatred for sin. Then one day I stood by a lake — and began prophesying at the top of my lungs. What came out of that touch of God was the book, Set the Trumpet to Thy Mouth.
The fourth touch I received was five years ago. It happened here in New York, when I'd come up for several summer street rallies. I gave an altar call in the Bronx — and backslidden Pentecostal ministers came forward!
I went to Times Square and heard drug pushers shouting, "I've got the stuff that killed Len Bias!" They were selling death, and it broke my heart. That's when God said, "You're going to seek Me again."
I started praying right on the streets, and in the middle of Times Square, God told me, "Come to New York City and start a church — right here in Times Square. I want to warn the city of coming judgment. And I'll send such an awakening, you'll never have to borrow or want for money!"
Beloved, our labor is not just in daily prayer or ordinary service anymore. God is saying to us, "You've come so far — but if you're not careful, you'll waver." We'll miss the revival, the outpouring of His Holy Spirit, unless God gets hold of true intercessors.
Yet if You and I will lay hold of God, like Daniel we will receive a touch of God. But it will not happen unless we get desperate and say, "God, I'm going to pray — and I'm willing to pay the price!
"But if from now thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shall find him, if thou seek Him with all thy heart and soul" (Deuteronomy 4:29).