Suggested Reading: Daniel 6
“If you want that splendid power in prayer, you must remain in loving, living, lasting, conscious, practical, abiding union with the Lord Jesus Christ.” ~C. H. Spurgeon
There is no greater challenge for today’s Christian than to establish and maintain a consistent prayer life. Life is Too Noisy … Too Busy … Too Anxious. Daniel’s story has brought us from a faithful 15 year old deported into a new culture to an elderly respected leader in the most powerful nation on earth. Darius the Mede is the king. He has governors over the regions of his kingdoms. And because politicians are suspect, he has administrators to watch over the governors. Darius has plans to set Daniel above the administrators. Daniel is powerful and his enemies are plotting.
The enemies of Daniel cannot find any corruption in him. They can’t find any area where he is slacking off in his work. So they only have one recourse: use his religion against him. They construct a law that they are sure Daniel will break, thus ensuring a way to get rid of him.
Darius signs a decree that for 30 days no one can pray to any god, only to Darius. Further, anyone who does will be thrown into a den of hungry and fierce lions. I am not sure why Dairus would accept this at all! He certainly is no god. He did not contemplate ahead of time what this would mean to Daniel, one of his most trusted servants. According to Mede and Persian law, he cannot rescind the law or make exceptions. But he did sign it.
Daniel had the custom of praying three times a day with his window open toward Jerusalem. He knew of the law. I’m sure he knew of the intent of the law. He prayed anyway. Much to Darius’ dismay, Daniel was thrown into the den of lions. An angel of the Lord kept the lion’s mouths shut, however, and he was safe.
Although this is an awesome story about lions and danger and rescue, it is also a great lesson about the power of a consistent prayer life.
Consistent Prayer Defines Character (Daniel 6:1-5). Daniel’s character is such that his enemies cannot find anything wrong with him. I believe this is because he continues to give himself over to the Father in prayer. The character of God is developed in his heart.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. ~Galatians 5:22-25
If I find myself lacking in those qualities, it is likely that I am not praying consistently and seeking the help of the Holy Spirit on those matters.
Consistent Prayer Defies Consequences (Daniel 6:6-10). Daniel did not disrupt his prayer life out of fear, anxiety, or conformity. This would have been a good time to ‘go underground’ with his faith. He knew the consequences of continuing to pray – and he followed his Lord first. Have you ever been tempted to hide your faith for fear of reprisals?
“We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties.” ~Oswald Chambers
Consistent Prayer Demonstrates Contrition (Daniel 6:10). Here we are not told about the words of Daniel’s prayer, although he was ‘giving thanks’. The prayer of contrition and repentance in Daniel 9 is an example of the manner of Daniel’s prayers. One clue to Daniel’s attitude in prayer was that he prayed on his knees. There is no prayer posture that gives special powers. Still, to get on one’s knees is a signal of contrition, submission, humility.
These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.”. ~Isaiah 66:2
Consistent Prayer Deepens Conviction (Daniel 6:16-24). It is with amazing courage that Daniel remains steady while being thrown to the lions. Daniel has prayed to his Father. He has been prepared for this moment by years of service to God. When we are praying regularly and consistently our conviction grows and prepares us for difficult times. The King is to be pitied…to whom will he go?
Prayer wonderfully clears the vision; steadies the nerves; defines duty; stiffens the purpose; sweetens and strengthens the spirit. ~S.D. Gordon
Consistent Prayer Develops into Conversion (Daniel 6:25-28). Darius the Mede gives glory to God because Daniel has been a man of faith and prayer. Now it’s not always true that when we pray, the faith of others comes to life. But I think often we do not see our friends and family come to Christ because we are not praying for their souls.
I read about George Mueller, who began praying for five of his friends. After many months, one of them came to the Lord. Ten years later, two others were converted. It took 25 years before the fourth man was saved. Mueller persevered in prayer until his death for the fifth friend, and throughout those 52 years he never gave up hoping that he would accept Christ! His faith was rewarded, for soon after Mueller’s funeral the last one was saved.
What would happen if everyone who read this post chose five unsaved friends and began praying for them relentlessly – even if it took 50 years? I think the Kingdom would be expanded exponentially.
Intercession is truly universal work for the Christian. No place is closed to intercessory prayer. No continent – no nation – no organization – no city – no office. There is no poweron earth that can keep intercession out. ~Richard Halverson
You do not need any special power or vocabulary to become a consistently prayerful
person. You just have to do it. And when you do, there will be more power unleashed in
your life than you have experienced. That is Daniel’s testimony.
Thanks for reading. In my next post I’m going to list some great Kindle books on prayer.