Vol. 11 No. 3 March 2009
In both Testaments, Old and New, prayer has been an important feature in man’s relationship with God. Relationships are not one-sided. God communicates with man, the crowning work of his creation. God provided man with a means of communicating to him through prayer. We can learn meaningful lessons by examining the life of God’s faithful servant – Daniel.
First, Daniel was not forgetful to pray. Daniel and his companions had been taken captive and had been taken away to a foreign land. Under his adverse circumstances, he refused to blame God. He would not shout or shake his fist at God. He would not give God the silent treatment and try to punish God in any way. Rather, he continued to recognize God as God. He continued to understand how precious and meaningful his relationship with God truly was. Therefore, three times daily he knelt upon his knees and prayed, giving thanks.
Second, Daniel was not too preoccupied to pray. Daniel was taken away from his homeland along with a number of other special young men. According to Babylonian customs, they were treated in a somewhat more preferred way than other captives were treated. These men were to be trained in the language and ways of the new culture in which they were. After the designated time, they were to stand before the king and to be given certain responsibilities. Daniel sought to keep himself pure. His heart continued to be set on God. He would not neglect his relationship with God, excusing himself from regular prayer due to his appointed tasks.
Third, Daniel was not afraid to pray. Daniel was well favored in his diligent service in the foreign land as one of three presidents who watched over 120 princes. Darius, the king, was so happy and impressed with Daniel that he contemplated setting Daniel over the whole kingdom, in which case the other two presidents would lose their place of power.
The two presidents and princes, in their jealousy, searched for fault in Daniel so he would not be promoted over the whole realm. Since they could find no fault in Daniel, they conspired to set him up so the law of the nation would conflict with his faithful practices under the law of God.
Through deceit, they persuaded the king to sign a decree that no man in the kingdom should make any petition to any god or any man other than King Darius for a thirty-day period. Being cast into a den of lions was determined as the fatal form of punishment for any violators. The trap for Daniel was set.
The Bible says that even though Daniel knew of the law being signed by the king, he continued his practice of prayer to God and thanksgiving just as he had before. Here is a man with the same spirit of Peter and John when commanded no longer to teach about Jesus: “We ought to obey God rather than men.” Consequently, God, through his tender mercy, protected and preserved the life of his faithful servant.
In conclusion, may we recognize the need to pray without ceasing to the Father. May we be the beneficiaries of God’s bountiful blessings that are derived through maintaining a close walk with God through prayer.