Daniel, Patience, Prayer

Prayer and Patience

Daniel 10:12 – Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.

Daniel had entered into 21 days of prayer, fasting and mourning but we are not told what it was that he was praying for. What we do know is that it is the third year of Cyrus’ reign and there is a situation that Daniel desperately wants to understand. We also know that Cyrus had allowed people to return to Jerusalem a couple of years previous in order to rebuild the temple but only the foundations were completed before the work stopped.

I think it is completely plausible that Daniel would want to understand why God had stirred Cyrus to build the temple, and yet allow another to halt that work. Daniel was so burdened and saddened by the situation that he mourned for 3 weeks, eating nothing and beseeching God in prayer. After the 21 days he gets washed, dressed, refreshes himself and goes for a walk by the river with his friends. It is on the bank of the river that an angel of the Lord meets him. The presence of God is felt so powerfully that the friends ran to hide and Daniel’s strength drained from him and he fell to the ground. Then the angel speaks:

“O Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you. Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.”

From the moment Daniel starting praying, God heard him and sent His reply. We learn so much about Daniel’s personality through this verse. He simply was not content to muddle through life with a que sera, sera, attitude; he had a thirst for understanding the things of God. Daniel had served God his whole life and had been granted wisdom, knowledge, prestige and power and yet after all these years he still approached the throne of God with a spirit of lowliness and humility. His standing in the eyes of men meant nothing to him but his standing in the eyes of God meant everything. In Psalm 51, David said, ‘you delight in truth in the inward being.’ Daniel had a true heart toward God.

The Lord delights when we seek him and serve him with a right heart. He hears us when we bring our petitions with a humble spirit and He sends an answer to those who search out understanding. We don’t all have the personality of Daniel and we don’t always have a right heart when we approach God but still he has patience with us because, like Daniel, we are greatly loved. Isaiah tells us, ‘Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you’ (30:18).

If the Lord is prepared to wait for us, shouldn’t we be prepared to wait for Him even more? So, pray with patience and wait on the Lord.

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