After reading from the book of Jeremiah, the prophet Daniel began calculating the number of years in which the Hebrew people had been in Babylonian captivity (Daniel chapter nine). He soon realized that the Jews were either at or near the end of their bondage punishment. Upon this discovery, the great man of God determined he would go before Jehovah in prayer regarding the situation. The child of God should be exceedingly grateful for the Lord’s wisdom in recording Daniel’s prayer. There are a number of important lessons that can be gleaned from this wonderful petition from God’s faithful servant.
First, Daniel prepared himself before entering the presence of the Almighty. The text says that Daniel set his face, “toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes” (NKJV 9:3). The prophet did not take lightly the fact that he was going to be standing before His Creator and God. It seems at times that that mindset is not as prevalent within God’s children today. This could not be traced to a single cause, yet the evidence of its existence is there nonetheless. Many will stay up to the wee hours of the morning on Saturday night, then drag themselves out of bed and barely make it to worship. Others will cram their minds with violent movies, video games, or news casts and then attend worship with nearly no concentration available. It might be wise, if possible, to go to bed early on Saturday, rise early on Sunday morning and go to God in prayer. Then study a passage or two of Scripture before entering the worship hour with the brethren. These simple acts might enhance and elevate worship to God into a whole new realm.
Second, Daniel was humble in his prayer to God. At least thirteen times Daniel included himself when he referred to Israel’s sin, disobedience, and failures to keep God’s law. He did not elevate himself above his fellow Jews, and acknowledged himself as a mere servant. Also, he recognized that it was God who was forgiving, faithful, righteous, merciful, and loving.
Finally, Daniel’s prayer was simple. He did not use extravagant or ostentatious words. Furthermore, every indication is that he prayed what was on his heart. There is not a hint that Daniel used vain repetitions or that he repeated a memorized prayer. Nowhere in God’s word does He say that a prayer will be heard for its loftiness or brilliance. However, He does discuss prayers being said in private, with holy hands (a person not full of sin), a believing heart, and thanksgiving (Matthew 6:5-13, Mark 11:24-25, and Colossians 4:2). A Christian is simply coming before his or her Father in straightforward communication, without becoming flippant or disrespectful.
It is wonderful that God recorded Daniel’s prayer so that subsequent generations can read and learn from him. Daniel was truly Jehovah’s man and left a legacy so that others could understand how to serve the Creater in a pleasing way, especially with regard to prayer.