Friday, September 18, 2009

Pray Like Daniel

Now Daniel ... went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened towards Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.
Daniel 6:10

It was drawn to my attention today that Daniel is one of the few characters in the Bible about whom nothing negative is said. Indeed, it was the fact that no-one could find any fault with Daniel that led to this very situation. There were people who wanted rid of Daniel and they manipulated circumstances to their own ends.

The decree had come down from King Darius that only he should be worshipped during the next 30 days.

Daniel's Prayer Life
The key to Daniel's life was that it was centred on prayer.

Firstly, he set aside time for prayer not just once, or even twice, but three times a day. Even though he was a busy, high ranking government official his life was saturated with prayer. Men and women of God such as John Wesley, Desmond Tutu and Madam Guyon have all attested to the importance of spending significant quantities of time in prayer when life and ministry become busy.

Secondly, Daniel had a "sacred space" where he went to pray. Deprived of Jerusalem and the Temple he made his upper room a sanctuary where he met with God. It is invaluable to have a particular place to pray because it is easier to settle, to take our focus off the world and place it firmly on God.

Thirdly, Daniel knelt to pray. He humbled himself physically, an outward act which reflected the attitude of his heart. This wasn't just because of the current desperate circumstances. Some people only pray humbly when they are in need but this was Daniel's daily practice.

Fourthly, he gave thanks to God. One might consider that in this dire situation he would skip over that bit of prayer and move straight into the, "HELP ME" prayer. After all, he had been thanking God every day and this was now a matter of urgency. But no, Daniel stuck to his usual pattern. He gave thanks. Amazing. His life is under threat, the lions are waiting, and Daniel gives thanks.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we can see that Daniel had established a consistent prayer life over an extended period of time. He had learned intimate communion with God. This wasn't a single act of defiance. It was a simple decision to keep doing what he'd always done. It appears not to have occurred to him to do anything differently.

Prayer College Assignment
Is there consistency in your prayer life? Have you come to the point in your walk with God that prayer comes naturally and it would be unthinkable to go a day without prayer? Ask God to help you become more consistent in your praying.

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