Welcome back to our study through Incense Rising: 60 Days to Powerful Prayer. Day 37 did not dig into the details of Daniel’s prayer, but we can spend more time there today.
Daniel begins by looking at God’s attributes. God’s greatness overshadows Daniel’s weakness. He remembers God is a promise keeper, and Daniel was claiming a particular promise in Scripture. As Daniel read Jeremiah’s prophecy, he rejoiced at the promise that their return to Israel was soon. Daniel knew the Israelites did not deserve God’s blessings. They had sinned. That was the reason they were in Babylon.
Daniel confessed the sins of Israel. Do we do that? Do we seek the forgiveness of a nation that slaughters the unborn? No, I have never had an abortion. No, I have never performed one, but I live in a nation with bloodstains on its hands. That was Daniels point. His beloved nation of Israel had sinned. They did not deserve God’s mercy, but God is gracious and forgiving.
Only God was, and is, righteous. Not Israel. Not us. We are like the people Daniel was praying for. We are as shameful as them. Anything God would do to them, to us, would be fair, because only He is righteous.
Daniel recalls God’s power. Sometimes, we talk about God’s power so much that we become complacent about it. We need a reminder about just how awesome God’s power really is. Daniel knew only God had the power to deliver them out of captivity. They could not deliver themselves. They could do nothing without God.
Sometimes, we trust in ourselves to do things. We fail when we believe we can do it in our own anemic strength. When there is no one, no one at all, but God, we are reminded just how powerless we really are. The incurable cancer. The accident which should have taken your life. The depression even the anti-depressants do not halt. The child who will not return. The door that refuses to budge.
Why would God want to use His mighty arm on behalf of sinful Israel? Why would He do it on our behalf?
Not for the sake of Daniel. Not for the sake of Israel, but for the sake of the Lord and His name. Save the people. Return them to their beloved Jerusalem. Though they did not deserve it, the good name of the Lord did.
Daniel knew it was God’s will to be merciful to Israel. He begged for His mercy.
We pray to the same merciful God. We cry out on behalf of our nation, our churches, and our families. Not for our benefit. Not for our pleasure, but for God’s glory. If our prayer requests do not bring glory to God, we should remain silent. If we do not make supplication for God’s glory, we should keep quiet. The glory of God must be our sole purpose in prayer.
Lord, we can be selfish asking for what we want at times. Help us think like Daniel. Help us keep Your glory front and center in our prayers. Amen.