Preaching through the book of Daniel has been a tremendous joy as it speaks to God's power, His purposes, and His faithfulness. It shows us the Lord's love and help to his people even in hard times. It is relevant to our world and needs today.
When most Christians think about the book of Daniel, two stories come to mind. The obvious one is Daniel and the Lion's Den, a classic staple of Sunday School and Children's Bibles. The other story is that of the Hebrew children and the fiery furnace. These three men refuse to bow down to the Babylonian idol and are thrown into the superheated furnace.
One thing that has struck me in preaching through Daniel is his prayers. There are a few observations I want to bring out of the book. I hope they will encourage and guide you in your own prayer life.
In Daniel 6, the king is lead by wicked and jealous men to make a prideful decree that only he could be prayed to for 30 days. What do we see Daniel do? He does what he had always done. The prophet opened his window and prayed three times a day. This regular prayer time is what he previously had done, and he kept doing it. Are we this regular in prayer?
In Daniel 9:3-15, We see a great prayer from Daniel for his people. Note well the humility of Daniel. He comes with pleas of mercy, fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. He confesses his sin and the sin of his people. Are we this humble before God? As we approach God, do we come seeking mercy and confessing our sin as we see in Daniel? Or do we come, presuming upon God's grace. Are we seeking the Lord with the right heart?
In Daniel 9:16-19, We see a prayer for God to work in specific ways. Dale Ralph Davis points this out in his commentary on the book. If you are like me, do you find yourself only praying generic prayers? Here we see Daniel praying bold and specific prayers. Having humbled ourselves, do we now come with boldness in the grace of Christ? Do we ask God to work in specific ways and at specific times? This specificity is not to push God or think we will get what we want, but it is something to make our request to God clear and specific so that when he answers, you know it.
In Daniel 10:2-3, He is in extended prayer for a particular need. He prays for three weeks. He focuses his life on praying for this issue by giving up food, drink, and comfort. Daniel is seeking the Lord for help and understanding. Are we doing this in our lives? Are we seeking God in prayer for things that burden our souls?
We also learn from Daniel that God answers prayers. You see this in Daniel 9:23 and 10:12, where God hears our prayers from the beginning. Is this not enough encouragement to pray. My friends, God hears you when you start to pray. You are heard! Why are we not praying?
In summary, here are my rough observations:
1. Be regular in your habit of prayer like Daniel.
2. Be in the right frame of heart as you approach God.
3. Be specific in making your request to God in prayer.
4. Wrestle in prayer when issues burden your soul