Prayer in Daniel

Yesterday (Thursday) evening I attended the weekly meeting of our church’s Life group hosted by Roland and Sherry Loder. In the group’s preceding meeting I’d asked the group to “read Daniel 2, 6, and 9 and try to discover who prayed, the circumstances under he/she/they prayed, and the lesson(s) about prayer for us” for our next meeting (yesterday’s). Seven attended yesterday’s meeting, and we read from Daniel 2, 6, and 9 and discussed the following questions on them.

Daniel 2
– What decree did the king make? Why?
– What did Daniel do because of it?
– How did God answer Daniel’s prayer?
– What does the event teach about prayer?

Daniel 6
– What decree did the king make? Why?
– What did Daniel continue to do?
– What happened to Daniel?
– What does the manner of Daniel’s praying teach about prayer?

Daniel 9
– What did Daniel discover?
– What did Daniel pray for?
– How did God answer Daniel’s prayer?
– What does the content of Daniel’s prayer teach about prayer?

Here I’ll share just what I can remember of what the group suggested that the passages taught about prayer.

What does the event in Daniel 2 teach about prayer?
Daniel’s asking the king to set a time for him to show him the interpretation of the king’s dream before Daniel knew what it was shows that he had faith that God would reveal the dream and its interpretation to him and suggests that when we pray we should have faith that our prayer will be answered. His making the matter known to his three friends and telling them to seek mercy from God about it suggests that we should ask others to pray on our behalf.

What does the manner of Daniel’s praying in Daniel 6 teach about prayer?
Daniel’s continuing to pray as usual after knowing of the king’s decree shows that he considered prayer to be more important than life. His praying towards Jerusalem where the house of God was, praying three times a day, and kneeling to pray suggest that we should focus on God/Heaven when praying, have regular times of praying, and show reverence to God when praying. His giving thanks to God in his prayer, described by his enemies as a petition, suggests that we should include thanks to God in all of our prayers.

What does the content of Daniel’s prayer in Daniel 9 teach about prayer?
Daniel’s prayer contained confession of Israel’s sin, admission that they deserved what had happened and was happening to them, and a request for mercy from God. We noted that Daniel reinforced what he said in his prayer by accompanying it with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. The prayer provides a model of the attitude that we should have when we pray, including recognition that our obtaining what we ask for will not be because of our deserving it but because of God’s mercy.

Open Theism contains three earlier articles on prayer: “Open Theism Encourages Prayer,” March 23, 2013 (part of my opening series of articles on open theism); “Prayer,” May 17, 2013 (part of our Life group study of Ephesians 6:10-20); and “Prayer,” December 10, 2013 (part of my current series of reports on my family’s reading of Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology in our daily Bible reading). Next week I’ll share from our Life group study of what Jesus told his disciples about prayer in Luke 11:1-13, which includes the Lord’s Prayer and a parable about prayer.

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2 thoughts on “Prayer in Daniel

  1. Allison

    You referred to Daniel as accompanying prayer with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. What do you think the role of the these three things should take in a Christian’s life today?

    Reply
    1. Bob Hunter Post author

      Allison, I’ve never really thought about what role fasting, sackcloth, and ashes should take in the Christian’s life today. In our Life group discussion we noted that people still sometimes accompany prayer with fasting to show how deeply they feel the need for a positive answer to their prayer but that as far as we knew they don’t use sackcloth and ashes.

      Reply

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