Daniel 9:3 Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. (ESV)
This is no whimsical prayer! it is a seeking of God which means abandoning ourselves. It is repentant, sorrowful, confessing sin (v.4). It is accompanied by fasting – denial of the flesh, denial of self. But it is filled with hope: for Daniel prays to the God “who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him” (v. 4). “To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness” (v. 9)! We can be confident in our prayers because of the character of our God, known through history and testified in the scriptures of the prophets (cf. v. 10). We can be assured that “the LORD our God is righteous in all the works he has done” (v. 14).
Our prayer relationship with God is based in and dependent upon His mercy (v. 18). The prayer we find here in Daniel is deeply passionate, desperate, crying out to God, filled with contrition.
“O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not” (v. 19).
When is the last time I cried out to God like this? – “to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity” (v.24). We pray for revival, but is it accompanied with repentance, contrition, sorrow? We want God to send us out, to plant a church, or do some great work for the kingdom, but are we even sorry for our own sin? Do we weep for the people in the land to which we are being sent? Are our hearts broken over the effects of sin in our community – the devastation it brings in the lives of ordinary people: single moms who don’t know how to pay for heat; divorce – children without a father in the home; drug addicts living in squalor, or on the street, in bondage, unable to free themselves. They need a Savior-King to break the hold of the enemy on their land!
Lord give me a heart like Daniel. Let me be a man whose first thought is “we gotta pray abut this” when he sees wrong and suffering. Make of me a man of prayer – who prays first in planning, and prays in reaction, but then acts according to Your answer, according to Your word.
In Jesus’ name – Amen,