The Touch of God

Daniel testified, “Behold, a hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands” (Daniel 10:10). The word for “touched” here means to “violently seize upon.” Daniel was saying, in essence, “When God placed his hand on me, it put me on my face. His touch gave me an urgency to pray, to seek him with all that’s in me.”

This happens anytime God touches someone's life. That person falls to his knees and becomes a man or woman of prayer, driven to seek the Lord. I've often wondered why he touches only certain people with this urgency. God-touched servants have an intimate relationship with the Lord, receiving revelations from heaven and enjoying a walk with Christ that few others do. Why do some become hungry seekers while others go their way?

I think of Daniel. This devoted servant was touched by God in a supernatural way. There were many other good, pious people serving the Lord in Daniel’s day: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, as well as Baruch, a scribe from Jerusalem. Scores of other Israelites maintained their faith as well while enslaved in Babylon.

So, why did God lay his hand on Daniel and touch him as he did? Why was this one man able to see and hear things no one else could? He declares, “I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision” (10:7).

Here was the incredible vision Daniel saw: “In the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river…I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold…His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and feet like in color to polished brass” (10:4-6).

This was a vision of Christ himself, clear and vivid. In fact, it was the same vision given to John on the Isle of Patmos (see Revelation 1:13-15). Now God spoke to Daniel unmistakably, “like the voice of a multitude” (Daniel 10:6). This wasn’t a peep or a whisper, but the thunderous sound of a roaring tumult.

The Lord revealed himself to Daniel this way for a specific reason: He wanted to end the long famine of his Word. He decided the time had come to deliver a message to lost humanity. And he wanted his servants to know what he was about to do and why: “To make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days” (10:14).

But God needed a voice to speak his message. He wanted a praying servant, someone who would respond faithfully to his calling. Daniel was that man. He’d been praying devoutly three times a day. Now, as he walked along the river, Christ revealed himself to him — and Daniel was shattered by the experience. He says, “A great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me…Yet I heard the voice of his words” (10:7-9).

Scripture doesn’t identify the men who were with Daniel. They might have been Babylonian guards or government officials. After all, Daniel occupied a high office in the kingdom. In my opinion, these men were Israelites, specifically Daniel’s pious friends and associates. Yet, if that’s so, why did they flee? Daniel says they saw and heard nothing. Why would they be compelled to hide?

Here’s why: God was in the process of possessing Daniel. He was preparing his servant, body and soul, to receive a word from heaven. And that’s always an awesome sight. Whenever God touches one of his praying servants, he manifests himself in that human vessel. First, he strips him of all self, and then he totally possesses him.

The sight of this process can strike fear in flesh-bound Christians. It either causes their hidden sin to melt, or it prompts them to flee the scene. I remember such a stirring in my own life, several years ago, before our ministry moved to New York. My wife, Gwen, and I were sitting on our patio in Texas with some other Christian couples. Suddenly, God’s Spirit gripped me, and I fell on my face.

The Lord began to speak to my heart about lost souls. Soon I was weeping and prophesying. I felt as if I were in God’s very presence, removed from this world. His Spirit was moving on me, calling me, giving me a vision for ministry. I don’t know how long I was in that state. All I know is, during this time our visitors excused themselves and left. Something about the scene had frightened them away.

I’ve often wondered: Is such a supernatural touch of God simply a matter of predetermination? Are those who receive his touch chosen and elected for it before they’re even born? Is it merely their destiny to be dedicated to prayer, possessed by the Holy Spirit, given words from God’s throne?

I ask these questions because of an unexplainable, God-given hunger in my soul. My inner man yearns for a revelation of Christ. Something in me simply won’t settle for another person’s revelation. Why? I’m convinced God has a particular word he wants to speak to this generation. And right now, he’s searching the earth for servants he can possess. He wants men and women who’ll serve as his oracles to a lost world. Only his powerful, anointed Word can combat the rising spirit of Islam and false gospels. And only his truth can deal a death-blow to the self-interest, materialism and lust in his own church.

A pure word is about to come forth from heaven once more. Convicting truth will be preached from the lips of a new generation of God-seekers, people who have set their hearts wholly on Christ. Even now the Lord is raising up men and women who are God-touched and Spirit-possessed. He’s going to set these servants on fire with his truth. And his touch on their lives will cause the whole world to take notice.

1. God made Daniel his oracle because he never let up in prayer.

The Lord touches every servant who is faithful in prayer. He seeks out those who are willing to discipline themselves in order to hear his voice. The Bible calls this attitude “setting the heart.” Daniel writes, “I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes” (Daniel 9:3).

Daniel then tells us, “Whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God…the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation” (Daniel 9:20-21). In short, Daniel is saying, “God touched me while I was seeking him in intense prayer.”

Daniel makes it clear: He didn’t get his understanding of God’s Word by studying under learned men. He didn’t gain his knowledge of future events from Babylon’s institutions. Nobody could teach him how to interpret dreams that were supernaturally given. Daniel declares, “Whiles I was speaking in prayer…he informed me…and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding” (9:21-22).

Simply put, Daniel’s prayers brought forth a Word from God’s throne. “Then he said unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words…Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days” (10:12, 14).

What kind of praying had Daniel been doing to prompt such a visitation? Scripture tells us he’d spent three weeks in utter brokenness: “In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled” (10:2-3).

Daniel had spent twenty-one days humbling himself, mourning on his knees, chastening his flesh, setting his heart to receive divine understanding. He didn’t time his prayer sessions by a clock. He was making a declaration of war: “Lord, I won’t leave your presence until I discern what you’re doing. I don’t care what cost I have to pay.”

Something else happened to Daniel while he prayed. He was brought to the end of his fleshly speaking abilities. The Lord now touched Daniel’s lips so he could speak as his oracle. He told his servant, “I have sanctified your tongue. Now I’m going to speak through you.”

Anyone who speaks for God must have his tongue purged and purified. It happened with Isaiah and Jeremiah. And now Daniel testified, “Behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spake…Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me” (Daniel 10:16, 18).

These men’s experiences are examples to us all: God is searching for those who will take time to be shut in with him. You may say, “I can’t spend hours a day praying. I have obligations like anyone else.” Daniel himself was a very busy man. As a prominent government official, he had incredible demands on his time. Yet Daniel set his heart to seek the Lord. And he made quality time daily — three times a day, in fact — to pray. God answered him with an astonishing vision: “I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward, I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it” (Daniel 8:27). Even in sickness, or during his daily business, Daniel sought the Lord.

2. Daniel grieved over the spiritual decline in society and in the church.

There is a heart attitude in even the most joyous believer that causes him to mourn over the lukewarm condition of the church and the moral decline in our nation. We see this in Daniel’s life.

At the time, Daniel was receiving visions in the middle of the night. He was miraculously delivered from a lion’s den. The Lord was blessing and prospering this man tremendously. Yet all that time, Daniel never put out of mind the grievous things God was showing him about Israel: “I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me” (Daniel 7:15). Over and over Daniel testifies, “These divine words, these visions of the future, troubled me. They stirred my soul, and caused me to mourn and grieve.”

Now God revealed to Daniel that he was about to pluck up every evil thing and cast it down. He would stomp on wicked nations and destroy them. Judgment Day was near, and time was running out — yet, amazingly, God’s people were oblivious to it all. So Daniel began to mourn over the deadness and depravity in God’s house.

I see a similar scene in God’s house today. Ministers and churches have closed their ears to prophetic warnings. They refuse to hear or speak anything negative. In their minds, it’s time to simply enjoy life. Yet many of these same people once experienced miracles. They prayed their lost loved ones into the kingdom. They grieved over the moral landslide in society, and looked eagerly for Christ’s coming. But now they have their own agenda. They won’t spend one ounce of energy grieving with God over a dying nation and a lukewarm church. As Scripture says, “They are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph” (Amos 6:6).

I tell you, Daniel received God’s touch because he was willing to grieve with the Lord. He prayed fervently, “Lord, what’s going on? I have to understand these times. Show me, so I can warn your people.” He didn’t care if he was mocked. He was consumed with a zeal to know God’s heart and share his burden.

3. God reveals his word to those who refuse to hide or harbor sin.

“I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; we have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments” (Daniel 9:4-5).

Here is another mark of someone after God’s heart: He identifies himself with the church’s sins. This servant cries out for holiness, both in himself and in God’s people. A church can call for prayer meetings regularly, but without purity, prayer is absolutely powerless. The message that God wants to speak to his people must come from lips that have been purged.

I challenge every pastor, every teacher, every lay person: Get desperate for God’s touch. Stay in communion with him, and allow the Holy Spirit to examine your heart. He’ll expose every wicked, rebellious, sinful thing hidden in you. And he’ll deal with you about every area of disobedience.

Soon, you’ll no longer tolerate hypocrisy or compromise in yourself. Your prayers will turn into cries for holiness. Then, whenever you see sin in God’s house, you’ll cry, “Oh, Lord, we have sinned against you.” That’s how you’ll know God has touched you. He has begun his divine work of changing you, anointing you afresh, and preparing you for a greater work.

Let me share with you a prophetic word God has given me.

While in prayer, I was impressed by the Holy Spirit with an extraordinary vision: God has been at work in the heavenlies on a covert operation. He’s raising up an army-within-an-army, searching his regular troops to form an elite unit of volunteers. This special force is made up of warriors he can touch and stir to do battle with the enemy. We see a picture of this in Scripture, with Saul’s special militia. The Bible tells us, “There went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched” (1 Samuel 10:26).

God’s special forces today include the young, the middle-aged, even the elderly. They’ve been training in their secret closets of prayer. Many have endured pain and suffering almost beyond human limits, and they’ve come forth purged and purified. Their intimacy with Jesus through it all has taught them how to fight. Now they know how to do battle on any spiritual plane, whether in mountains or in valleys.

These special forces have won many victories through prayer — and now they’re feared in hell. One prayerful, obedient member of this unit can put a thousand enemy soldiers to chase. As God promised Joshua’s small, cleaving army, “No man hath been able to stand before you unto this day. One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the Lord your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you” (Joshua 23:9-10).

I’ve heard the preaching of many soldiers in these special forces. They are lions of prayer, yet lambs in their humility — and they are fearless in exposing all that’s of flesh. The word they preach is profound in its truth, purity and integrity. Some are young, having learned Christ quickly. They preach his Word boldly, both in the church and to the unsaved. Other soldiers are middle-aged ministers who’ve grown weary of the church’s lukewarmness. Now they’re ready to show a new generation how to fight.

For years now, Satan has terrorized God’s people. But all along, God has been training his special forces, and he is about to unleash them within his church. His army-within-an-army is in place in every nation. Its activity may be covert for now, but soon we’ll see it doing exploits in the name and power of Christ. For behind the doors of the secret closet, his touch is upon his praying servants, just as it was with Daniel. God’s Word will come forth from that touch, and the famine will end. Jehovah God will prevail. His Word shall conquer all!