Pray like Daniel

Are you a praying person? There are so many different ways we can pray. I remember back in youth group days, we had a prayer time called “popcorn prayer”. This was a time of prayer when anyone could jump in a pray a quick prayer for whatever was on their heart. Of course God hears these types of prayers and any quick prayers we say as we face dilemmas during our days. But, are you a praying person like Daniel?

In the book of Daniel, we find that Daniel had a regular prayer habit. He could be found praying three times a day (which ultimately led him to the lion’s den). His prayer is what we read today in chapter 9:1-19. The prayer in this chapter is far more detailed and inspired from the Word of God than my “popcorn prayers” were back in the day.

Sometimes our prayers flow from our own feelings and emotions at that moment. But, when we look at Daniel’s prayer, we see that his prayer flows from spending time in God’s Word. While Daniel was reading God’s word in the book of Jeremiah, he realized that what he was reading was just about to be fulfilled. The 70 years serving the king of Babylon was almost completed.

This entire land will become a desolate wasteland. Israel and her neighboring lands will serve the king of Babylon for seventy years. “Then, after the seventy years of captivity are over, I will punish the king of Babylon and his people for their sins,” says the Lord. “I will make the country of the Babylonians a wasteland forever.
Jeremiah 25:11-12

Because Daniel believed they are about to be punished, he prays. He prays much more than a one sentence “popcorn prayer.” Daniel prays in earnest for his people. He prays that God would forgive the people. He puts himself in the place of all the people and pleads with God to intercede.

Daniel puts himself in the middle of the nation’s sin. He does not put the sin on all the other people, he includes himself in the sin.

But we have sinned and done wrong. We have rebelled against you and scorned your commands and regulations.
Daniel 9:5

To pray like Daniel prayed, we must take the sin of others upon ourself. Daniel was a righteous man who lived without compromise. Even so, he put others’ sins upon himself and asked God for forgiveness. This is costly for Daniel. He feels the grief. He is overwhelmed with the burden. He is humbled before God. He intercedes for the sins of the people.

Praying to God in any form is a good thing. God loves to hear the cries of His people. Sometimes, the word Jesus is all we can mutter and God hears us. Interceding for others takes time in God’s Word and time on our knees. This type of prayer is humble. May we take more time to intercede for others and be on our knees in prayer for those around us, just as Daniel did.