MAY 10

A Prayer for the Ages

Bible Reading: Daniel 9

Daniel was a man dedicated to prayer.  And his prayer here in Daniel chapter 9 stands as one of the most majestic in all of Scripture.  John MacArthur has commented on this: “I don’t believe it is possible to underestimate the necessity and value of prayer. And the longer we study Scripture, the more we will return to this same theme because it appears all across the Bible. But of all the passages in the Old Testament that relate to prayer, there is perhaps none finer than Daniel 9…it provides for us a majestic model of what prayer is and should be.”

By the time of this prayer Daniel is in his eighties.  There are probably few, if any, who like him still hold precious memories of those days, before the captivity, when his people still lived in their land.  Through all these years he’s held to his faith and stood by his convictions, despite being immersed in a culture of idol-worshippers.  In his heart he yearns for the restoration of his people to their place.  Then he reads in Jeremiah of how God had promised to restore His people after 70 years (Jeremiah 25:11-12).  Daniel reads the prophecy and responds in humility and fervent prayer (Daniel 9:3).  Here are some of the ways in which Daniel’s prayer can serve as a good example to us:

Daniel prayed according to God’s will.  “Thy will be done” is an important element of our prayers (Matthew 6:10).  As a man of faith, Daniel lived with a desire to know and do the will of God.  When Daniel read of God’s plan to restore His people, his response was to pray.  Some might suggest there was no need for Daniel to pray, since God had already sovereignly decreed the matter.  But such an argument fails to realize how God has graciously chosen to work through His people and their prayers (albeit in a mysterious way) to accomplish His plans.  And as Daniel prayed (and Nehemiah, Ezra, and others too), their hearts were increasingly aligned to that which God was doing.

Daniel prayed according to God’s Word.  Daniel had read a promise by God.  He prayed that promise.  How are we to know the will of God?  One way we can ascertain something to be the will of God is if it is confirmed to us by the Word of God.  We do well to pray the promises of God as they relate to various aspects of our Christian lives.

Daniel prayed according to who God is.  Note how Daniel worshiped in his prayer in acknowledging precious truths regarding God’s nature.  He is the great and awesome God!  The God who is faithful and steadfast in His love.  He is righteous, yet merciful. And is the God of truth.  Underlying Daniel’s prayer is an awareness of God’s sovereignty.  Daniel knew Who it was he was praying to.

Daniel prayed confessing their sins.  In confessing their sins, Daniel fully identified himself with his people.  Daniel understood the gravity of their sins and how their rebellion had worked to bring about this calamity.  “We have sinned, we have done wickedly” Daniel prayed (Daniel 9:15).  Confession of sin is an important aspect of our prayers. 

Daniel prayed unto God’s glory.  Daniel understood how rebellion had worked to debilitate God’s chosen people from fulfilling their God-given role of bringing honor to Him.  Instead of bringing glory to God, they had become “a byword among all” who were around them (Daniel 9:16).  Daniel’s prayer was for the restoration of God’s people that God would be glorified through them (Daniel 9:19).  Likewise, we pray “hallowed be Thy name” (Matthew 6:9). 

Daniel prayed for God to act.  Note the intensity of Daniel’s supplication, “O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not” (Daniel 9:19).  He prayed fervently and specifically regarding the matter, asking God for an immediate response.  And that’s exactly what God did, sending Gabriel with a message while Daniel was still praying (Daniel 9:21)!  And God responded to Daniel’s prayer in unveiling His plan for the ages (Daniel 9:24-27)!  There’s much instruction and encouragement in prayer we can gain by looking to Daniel’s example.

In Prayer, we Humbly Engage Ourselves in That Which God is Doing

HAVE THINE OWN WAY, LORD

Have Thine own way Lord
Have Thine own way
Thou art the potter I am the clay
Mold me and make me after Thy will
While I am waiting yielded and still

Have Thine own way Lord
Have Thine own way
Search me and try me Master today
Whiter than snow Lord wash me just now
As in Thy presence humbly I bow

Have Thine own way Lord
Have Thine own way
Hold over my being absolute sway
Filled with Thy spirit till all can see
Christ only always living in me

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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