Daniel, Prayer


Daniel 9:3 – Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.

Daniel truly was a man of prayer – ‘He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God.’ He may have been in a position of privilege with the various heathen kings of Babylon but he knew how tenuous those relationships could be. The most important aspect of Daniel’s life was his relationship with the Lord God, for it was true and it was steadfast.

Daniel had been reading the words of the prophet Jeremiah and he realised that the seventy years of captivity that the Lord had declared upon Judah would soon end. Daniel had such a heart for his people and for their restoration that he submerged himself in a time of fervent prayer; a prayer of intercession. The people were so far removed from the faithfulness of the covenant that Daniel pleaded for mercy on their behalf and identified himself with the sins of his nation.

“All this calamity has come upon us; yet we have not entreated the favour of the Lord our God, turning from our iniquities and gaining insight by your truth. For the Lord our God is righteous in all the works that he has done, and we have not obeyed his voice… We do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive.”

I would encourage you to read verses 3 to 19 of Daniel’s prayer to see what it means to intercede. This is only a snippet of that intercession, for this prayer would have been repeated over and over, day after day. Judah needed God’s mercy and Daniel felt his nation’s shame. He knew the only thing he could do was seek God’s face and implore his gracious nature.

This is how we pray for our nation. We can do it individually or we can do it collectively as Joel encouraged: ‘Consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly. Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord.’

If we want to see God moving in our land, we need to get on our knees, repent of our sin and plead for his mercy.

O Lord, great and awesome God, we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. We have not listened and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God. O Lord, incline your ear and hear. O Lord, forgive. (Dan 9)

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