Daniel 9: Urgent Prayer
November 24, 2020
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Daniel’s prayer is more than worthy of emulation. First, he discerns a clear promise in Scripture (9:2). This is a principle for us to apply: once we have discovered in the Bible a word from God, a promise from God, then utilize that promise in our prayers to God. This is the way to “pray in faith” or “pray in Jesus’ name” or “pray according to God’s will.” We discover what it is that God has promised to do—in this context, bring God’s people back from exile after a certain length of time—and then we go to God in prayer and ask him to act according to his own promise. This prayer of the righteous man is powerful and effective.
Second, prayer is combined with confession (9:4). Who can approach the holy God without being conscious of their need for forgiveness, and therefore without confessing their sins that they might be forgiven? Such repentance occurs not only at the beginning of the Christian life, but is a sweet balm of rest and solace that carries on throughout the Christian life as we rest in the grace and mercy of God to us great sinners.
Then, we stand on the covenant relationship of God to his people (9:4). God has arranged that, fulfilled in Christ, those in Christ will be listened to and cherished and accepted—so we can approach the throne of God with boldness and confidence.
Now, in Daniel’s prayer come then particularities that work out these principles. “We” have done this, that, and the other. But “to you, O Lord” belongs righteousness, while to us belongs “open shame.” He contrasts and compares the state of God’s people with the holiness of God himself, and this stirs up fervent prayer for mercy. “Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy” (9:17). But this is also “for your own sake, O Lord” (9:17). God’s glory and honor are at stake. Appeal to the honor and glory of God, whose name is set upon his people, that he might restore and establish his people and so honor himself in so doing!
And then there is, finally, urgency: “O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name” (9:19). Too many of our prayers are about as urgent as a missive sent from a bureaucracy to another department in that bureaucracy to seriously consider its request through the appropriate channels and committees—in other words, do nothing quickly, if at all. But Daniel’s prayer is not like that: Now, God! “Delay not, for your own sake” (9:19).
And then comes Gabriel’s answer (9:20-23), which all centers on the coming of the “anointed one,” ultimately Christ the Messiah himself.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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