When you pray, do you sometimes offer God a list of reasons why He should answer? It’s easy to do. Hard work, selfless service, a deep love for God and people — these all seem like good rationale for requesting God’s help. But truthfully, we know it isn’t. None of us deserves to receive anything from God. We are completely dependent on Him.
After living in exile for many years, Daniel realized the prophet Jeremiah had foretold that Jerusalem would lay in ruins for 70 years. From Scripture, Daniel understood that the time of Israel’s banishment from her homeland was nearing its conclusion. Daniel also grasped the fact that God’s people still hadn’t repented of the sins that caused God to scatter them. So, he humbled himself and prayed for the restoration of Jerusalem and the temple.
Although Daniel served God alone and refused to worship anything or anyone else, he didn’t consider his own righteousness as a reason to make demands of God. Instead, he pleaded with God for mercy.
Daniel’s prayer can serve as a guide for our prayers today. Will you pray this summary along with me today?
Lord, You are great and awesome. You alone are God. You always keep your covenant of love (9:4). I have sinned (9:5) and have not listened to you (9:6). You are righteous (9:7). I am covered with shame because of my unfaithfulness to you (9:7). You are merciful and forgiving, even though I have rebelled against your ways (9:9). Again and again, I have broken your law, turned away from you, and refused to obey (9:11). I have not sought your favor by turning from my sins and giving attention to your truth (9:13). Now, in keeping with all your righteous acts (9:16), I ask you to hear my prayer (9:17-18). Forgive me (9:19) and act within me to accomplish your purpose (9:19), for the sake of your great Name (9:17/19). Amen.
Go Deeper - Consider why you think God answers prayer. Are those reasons biblical or do they come from tradition, false ideas or wishful thinking? Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in all truth and teach you to depend on God, not your own righteousness.
Further Reading: Why God Might Not Be Answering Your Prayers
Photo Credit: Steven Van Loy