This morning I came to the book of Daniel looking for something else and instead Holy Spirit led me here.
I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your command and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. Daniel 9:4-6.
The above verses are the beginning of a beautiful prayer by Daniel for his homeland. Did you catch how Daniel begins his prayer? He begins with praising God for Who he is. All too often, I believe, we many times step into a sweet and beautiful time of prayer with God and immediately begin with our requests. Prayer means to intervene or intercede, but it is so much more than our requests, whether for ourselves or on behalf of others, it is part of the deep and intimate relationship with God that we ought to reach for on a daily basis. The second part of Daniel’s prayer is confession. Daily I thank God for the gifts of confession and repentance and His faithfulness to show me the sin in my life so I can enjoy uninterrupted fellowship with him. (1 John 1:6-9).
The body of Daniels’ prayer is for his country Israel. Not only was Daniel pleading with God to restore Israel, he did so in fasting, in sackcloth and in ashes. Fasting was sometimes done to show grief, distress or repentance. The wearing of sackcloth and ashes were also signs of repentance. Daniel was serious about his prayers for Israel, which has me thinking, am I, are you, serious about the way you pray for your homeland, your family, yourself and others?
I chuckle as I write this because yesterday I began asking God what I was missing in my prayers about a current situation. What came to mind was the angel that was sent to Daniel but was delayed by the prince of Persia and one of the chief angels, Michael, was sent to help. (Daniel 10). When I sat down to write this morning I was sure it would be about praying for our homelands and the current affairs of the world, yet, here I am, learning more about prayer from an ancient prophet and reading God’s answer to my question.
Precious One, whether today finds you praying for yourself, your family, for others, for your homeland or for all of these things, may we both follow Daniel’s lead with heart’s of sincerity and seriousness for the task at hand.
May we cry out as Daniel did;
O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name. Daniel 9:19.