June 17. Daniel 9:1-23
Daniel has got to be one of my very favorite heroes of the faith. Let’s just review what happened to him. He was most likely a wealthy teen living in Jerusalem when the Babylonians conquered. He was one of the captives that made the long trek to Babylon, leaving family and home far behind. There are some hints in scripture that he may also have been castrated and therefore unable to marry and have a family. Life was not good for Daniel. It was traumatic and horrifying and he must have dealt with intense grief at all his losses.
And yet he stayed loyal to the God who allowed these atrocities to happen to him. Right from his introduction to the royal court where he and other bright young men were being “reprogrammed” in Babylonian ways, he stood up for his beliefs with integrity and a remarkable polite firmness. He prayed three times a day facing Jerusalem. Even when he knew full well that he might be thrown into a lions’ den. Which, of course, he was. He sat with hungry lions all night perfectly safe because God shut their mouths and he walked out of that den untouched and unscathed. He saw visions that made him faint dead away. He talked with angels.
So. When Daniel records a prayer, we should listen. It was not a short prayer. It was a pleading prayer complete with sackcloth and ashes. It went on and on as Daniel begged God to restore Jerusalem to His people. I love that Daniel is humble when he prays. I love the way He worships God and praises His attributes. I love that Daniel is persistent in his prayers. I often give up waaaay too soon instead of coming to the Lord again and again, asking for greater understanding and sharing my heart with Him! Let’s pray persistently and with humility, remembering to honor God for Who He is as we pray …
My verse: Daniel 9:18 “O my God, lean down and listen to me. Open your eyes and see our despair. See how your city—the city that bears your name—lies in ruins. We make this plea, not because we deserve help, but because of your mercy.”
My response: There’s an amazing humility here! Daniel has faithfully served You, Lord, all his life in a foreign land as a captive. Yet, he comes as a representative of all Israel. He doesn’t claim any merit or deservedness at all. He simply asks for mercy. Beautiful in its importunity, this prayer wholly relies on Your kindness, Lord, and not on any works that anyone should boast. Teach me, Lord, to pray with that kind of respect for You and acknowledgement of Your mercy.