Tuesday: Daniel’s Prayer
“But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly” (Matt. 6:6, NKJV).
Read Daniel 6:10. Why doesn’t Daniel simply pray quietly without anyone seeing him?
Daniel is an experienced statesman, but, above all, he is God’s servant. As such, he is the only member of the government who can understand what lies behind the king’s decree. For Darius the decree amounts to an opportunity to strengthen the unity of the kingdom, but for the conspirators it is a strategy to get rid of Daniel.
Of course, the real causes and motives behind the plot lie in the cosmic battle between God and the forces of evil. At this time (539 B.C.) Daniel has already received the visions recorded in Daniel chapter 7 (553 B.C.) and 8 (551 B.C.). So he can understand the royal decree, not as a matter of mere human politics but as an instance of this cosmic war. The vision of the Son of Man delivering the kingdom to the people of the Most High and the comforting assistance of the angel interpreter (Daniel chapter 7) may have brought him the courage to face the crisis head on. He may also have reflected on the experience of his companions, who have been brave enough to challenge the decree of Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel chapter 3).
Thus, he does not change his devotional habits but continues his customary practice of praying three times a day towards Jerusalem. In spite of the prohibition to make petition to any man or god but the king, Daniel takes no precaution to hide or disguise his prayer life during those critical thirty days also. He is an absolute minority since he is the only one, among dozens of governors and other officers, on a collision course with the royal decree. Through his open prayer life, though, he demonstrates that the allegiance he owes to God comes before his allegiance to the king and his irrevocable decree.
|Read Acts 5:27-32. Though the admonition here is clear, why must we, when acting in defiance of human law, always be sure that what we are doing is truly God’s will? (After all, think of people who died rather than betray a belief or belief system that we believe is wrong!)|
It needs to be understood that Daniel did nothing out of the ordinary to "shove it up the noses" of his protagonists. He went about his daily routine as usual. He wasn't making a political protest. And I think it is important to realize the difference between what Daniel was doing and what I see some militant Christians doing.
I went to a creationist group workshop once. I thought it would be great to hear what other (Non-Adventist) creationists had to say. Unfortunately, the meetings turned out to be more political rather than spiritual or scientific. I felt very uncomfortable about the direction the group was moving. Their idea was to mount political pressure and fund legal challenges which I found quite foreign to my perception of the Christian ethic. That was the last time I went. I did hear back from one of my friends who also attended that they were concerned that some Adventists had attended their workshop. They didn't want us spoiling their plans!
I am reminded of Jesus view:
Daniel wasn't protesting; he was doing what he always did. He wasn't preaching; he was living! And his protagonists were jealous that his integrity had given him the ears of the king.
When we place God before everything in our lives, priorities change. It is not easy to change the agenda from "I" to Jesus! Once we truly understand what God has done for us we ought to change. Well, I need this change every day. I need to feel Jesus' love every day! Do you?
The power of the Holy Spirit to help us live right despite the odds against us.
What we are reading about and looking at is a man who hath constantly lived a faithful life despite the odds against him. It started years ago in Israel, he saw many kings came and went. He had witnessed the power of God time and time again. He was fearless of death. He was unconcerned about evildoers, he knew they were all around him.
Thus the prophet boldly yet quietly and humbly declared that no earthly power has a right to interpose between the soul and God. Surrounded by idolaters, he was a faithful witness to this truth. His dauntless adherence to right was a bright light in the moral darkness of that heathen court. Daniel stands before the world today a worthy example of Christian fearlessness and fidelity. PK 542
It will be when the Sunday law is pass and worship is force, those who are standing for truth like Daniel will stand despite the odds.
Jeremiah 12:5 If thou hast run with ............and if in the land of peace wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee. Many Christians are weary now and giving up, if we are breaking now, how can we stand like Daniel when the going gets tough?
The ban was not to make a request to any other god or man except the king for 30 days, why was this a problem for Daniel?
When Solomon dedicated the temple, this was part of his prayer:
1Ki 8:22 And Solomon stood before the altar of Jehovah in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward the heavens.
1Ki 8:23 And he said, Jehovah, the God of Israel, there is no God like You, in Heaven above or on earth beneath, who keeps covenant and mercy with Your servants who walk before You with all their heart,
1Ki 8:29 for Your eyes to be open toward this house night and day, toward the place of which You have said, My name shall be there; to listen to the prayer which Your servant shall pray toward this place.
1Ki 8:30 And You shall listen to the cry of Your servant, and of Your people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place, and hear in Heaven Your dwelling-place, and when You hear, forgive!
1Ki 8:37 If there is famine in the land, if there is plague, blasting, mildew, locusts; if there are stripping locusts; if their enemy encircles them in the land of their cities, whatever plague, whatever sickness,
1Ki 8:38 any prayer, any supplication from any man of all Your people Israel, who shall each know the plague of his own heart, and shall spread forth his hands toward this house,
1Ki 8:39 then hear in Heaven Your dwelling-place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to all his ways, whose heart You know. For You, You only, know the hearts of all the sons of Adam.
1Ki 8:44 If Your people go out to battle against their enemy, wherever You shall send them, and shall pray to Jehovah toward the city which You have chosen, and the house that I have built for Your name,
1Ki 8:45 then hear in Heaven their prayer and their cry, and maintain their cause.
Thus Daniel was not just praying as we do but he was reminding the LORD of the covenant made between the people, Solomon and the LORD about praying towards the temple and about the LORD rescuing them from their enemies.
In what outward way do we acknowledge the LORD as our Creator and Saviour?
Very interesting. Yet, Jesus tells a parable of two that prayed in the temple, Luke 18:10-14 and they were both "standing" when they prayed in that temple. However, the difference was not about their position of prayer but their "attitudes" as they prayed. "Humility" seems to be what blessed one of them and "Pride" seems to be what did not bless the other. Here again, to me, Jesus had insight to prayer that Daniel and other O.T. servants of God did not have yet in their day.
When a person has an excellent spirit it's easy to notice because the person is confident and full of faith. He goes ahead and in spite of the difficulties that he may come across he does not stop, Daniel had God's spirit, the best of all.
Could it also be that Daniel, as well as other servants of God in the O.T. did not have Jesus' counsel of Matthew 6:6 yet? What happened in Acts 5:27-32 was more of a public situation than what Jesus counsel says about praying in our closet as per Mat. 6:6
Personally, I'm not entirely comfortable with the idea that Daniel let himself be seen and heard in prayer to God because he did not have Jesus' counsel to keep prayer a private matter. At the very least, this would seem to suggest that Daniel was making a mistake that "forced" God to come to his rescue. I am more inclined to think that the counsel of God is not "one size fits all," that it is not intended to be taken to extremes, nor to be applied mechanically without careful thought.
The Pharisees of Christ's day were praying in public in order to show off their superior piety. Such prayer was an offense to God. Daniel evidently wanted to show to Whom the credit belonged for his superior life and service to the king. In my view, this would have been a noble intent, pleasing to God.
Daniel knew God and had a personal,loving and friendly relationship with Him. He had trust and confidence in God. Daniel was easy going and humble. He was not disturbed or perturbed by the challenges around him.
He was not rebellious and so was not rebelling against the King's decree by praying to God. It was his way of life and so he wanted to ensure that nothing would trifle with his relationship with his God. Prayer for Daniel was like a contractual communication agreement between himself and God that he did not intend to break. God was more important to him than any law or decree of the King.
We too must built and maintain that kind of relationship with our God.
I believe Daniel was fearless. He was not defiant to the kings decree as the lesson suggested, he was just going about his normal daily routine. Sure he could have kept his windows closed for that 30 days, just like his 3 friends could have knelt down and fiddled with the buckle on their sandals. But he knew he had nothing to fear, and he would not deny his God. And what a compliment that his accusers knew that and used that to trap him.
Well, maybe Daniel was not so much "fearless," as willing to place "his faith" in God's ability to keep him from "His Fears," etc.
Sometimes it can feel that prayer doesn’t “work.” And like a broken TV remote we can throw prayer out as unnecessary “clutter” in our busy lives.
Should we really stop saying that prayer works?
Well, yes and no.
Most people who say prayer works these days really mean God did what I wanted him to do. As if prayer was a button to be pushed to release exactly what they wanted from the vending machine.
Prayer is not a button to be pushed; it’s a relationship to be pursued.
Prayer does ‘work,’ but it works very differently than we’d like.
It still ‘works’:
When we can’t trace out any direct result from our prayer.
When the opposite of what we prayed for happens.
In those moments when we feel very distant from God.
When we bang down the door of heaven for years and are not sure anything is going on up there at all.
For many inside and outside the church whose spirits are crushed because they prayed (fervently) and:
They didn’t get the job.
Their mom died of cancer.
Their child was born without a heartbeat.
They ended up in a car crash that left them permanently disabled.
Fires/floods destroyed their home/lives
Prayer doesn’t ‘work’ because a Christian got what they wanted and someone else didn’t
The parade of saints across the centuries would have been shocked to see prayer reduced to God-doing-what-I-asked-him-to-do-when-I-asked-him-to-do-it. God is not a chef in the kitchen who prepares food to suit our every whim. He is sovereign.
Do things happen supernaturally when we pray? Well, yes they do. But often in ways we cannot understand or even trace out.
I think Christians can take consolation in the fact that when we pray, we often don’t know what to pray for or even how to pray, yet the scriptures tell us the HS will translate the prayer into something better than we could phrase in the moment.
So pour your heart out to God. Pray about the things the scripture says are close to God’s heart. And when something ‘goes your way,’ be grateful and offer it back to the God who gave it to you.
And when things don’t go your way, understand that God is still very much in control and very much loves you. Just because God is silent doesn’t mean God is absent.
As we have studied the life of Daniel is has become clear that for Daniel prayer meant a life of daring, defiant, disciplined prayer, a prayer life that would have been rooted in his Jewish heritage.
A God relationship that became more real to Daniel as he experienced undeserved, unearned early life trauma - the total destruction of his family, society and roots.
Daniel was making a statement, not just about God but about his relation to God.
God would not have changed if Daniel had prayed in secret. God would still be God. Daniel would still be a ruler in Persia. What would have been different is the way the presidents and satraps thought about Daniel’s relationship to God. And I believe Daniel thought about that, he could not bring himself to go underground.
to my own understanding I think Daniel was doing well in everything that's why his fellow leaders felt jealous over him
This prayer life of Daniel has challenged me in my work with God.It has taught me that I need to develop a strong relationship with God,arelationship that can not be disrupted with other events.My programme/appointment with God should not be relegated when an event comes in our lives.