Read Daniel 9:1-3
One of the main points in chapter 6 was how dedicated Daniel was to his prayer time. He refused to allow anyone or anything keep him from praying, not even the threat of death. He prayed morning, noon and night every single day. He had the same routine every single time. He would open the shutters in his upstairs room and he would kneel down at the windowsill and pray. He liked this spot in particular, because it faced his hometown of Jerusalem.
If you’ve ever wondered, “exactly what did Daniel say to God when praying, what were his prayers like?” Well, here is your chance to find out. But, first I want to point out something very important. Daniel was a man of God, God spoke to Daniel through dreams and visions, he even sent his most trusted angel, Gabriel, to reveal his word first hand. I want you to understand that as much as God shared his will with Daniel first hand, Daniel never used those experiences as a substitute for studying the word of God. He still studied the written word of God. This is another area where Daniel did not compromise.
Verse 2 says, “I Daniel understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet.” It’s not clear if he was studying this before or after his night in the lion’s den, but we have it here that studying the word of the Lord is a big deal for this Godly man. It also makes me wonder if that is why the enemy worked so hard at trying to kill Daniel. Is it possible that the enemy tried to take Daniel out before he put two and two together and realized the 70 years was up and the enemy could no longer have free reign over the Holy people.
The enemy’s time was up and Daniel was made aware of it through the reading of scripture, and that is why Daniel took to prayer. Verse 3 says that Daniel turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting and in sackcloth and ashes. Daniel did not let anything to chance. He pulled out all the “big guns”. It was his understanding and studying of the word that gave him the promises of God. The promise was that this desolation would last 70 years and that time is up and now it’s time for the Lord to send relief and take them back to their home and let them rebuild Jerusalem and their beloved temple.
Read vs. 4-19
First of all, I am appalled that this prayer is not discussed more often in churches today. I have NEVER heard a pastor or evangelist ever reference this prayer and I think that is an absolute tragedy. As far as I’m concerned this prayer should have been prayed many times over, especially during the past year.
Last week I hit pretty hard with urging each of you to pray, to seek the Lord and to turn from your wicked ways, and then I turned the page and read how Daniel prayed, fasted and repented for an entire nation. This past week was inauguration for a new president, how many of you prayed on behalf of our nation? How many of you repented on behalf of our nation? It’s one thing to pray for your own sins, but it another to stand in the gap for an entire nation of sinners.
I don’t want to repent for baby murders, I don’t want to be the one to repent for sexual abominations, because I don’t personally partake in those things, except God looks at us as a unit as a people. And someone has to stand in the gap or there won’t be a gap to stand in.
Some of the words that stood out to me in this prayer are “We” have sinned, Daniel didn’t sin, he honored God in every way, yet he understands he is part of one body. “We” have turned away from your commands, “we” have not listened to your prophets, “we” are covered in shame.
Daniel took the time to understand what God expected of his people, he also took the time to understand where the Israelites went wrong, where their sin fell. He was able to do this because he spent time studying the word of God. God doesn’t reveal his heart to us for his benefit, he does it for our benefit. The written word of God is for our benefit.
And what we benefit from it is the opportunity to come into agreement with the Lord. The way we come into agreement is through prayer. The two work together, one without the other just doesn’t get us to where we need to be. You read the word to find out what God’s will is, then you pray about his will so that you can come into agreement with it.
What business do you have to pray for God’s will to be done when you don’t understand his will in the first place. On the flip side of that, if you can read the word of God and not be driven to prayer, there just might be something missing there as well. The word of God, whether reading about judgement or blessings, should drive you to prayer.
Scriptures on judgement should drive you to your knees in repentance and scriptures on the blessing of God should cause you to stand with your arms raised high and mouth spewing out worship.
Combining the word with prayer will not only cause you to be aligned with God’s will, but your prayers will be grounded in the word, they will originate from the word, not your own selfish desires. Daniel was studying the word of the Lord and it drove him to prayer and fasting. It drove him to deep intercessory prayer. And it drove him to confession. The Holy Spirit has a way of bringing you to repentance, it is a bi-product of intercessory.
Repentance is another way of coming into agreement with God. It’s not just a confession of “oh I did wrong again, forgive me.” We need to have a heart that easily recognizes sin, but then there should be times where we have a greater sense of sinfulness. A time where we linger in repentance allowing God to cleanse and restore us. Repenting is agreeing with what God says is sin.