Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. Daniel 6:10 (NIV).
Look at how Daniel acts on adversity. He doesn’t react to it: he acts as he always has. He continues to pray to God; he does it multiple times per day. He understands that a decree has been issued prohibiting this, yet, as a matter of faithful conscience, he continues to pray anyway. And he does so in private, not publicly defying the king’s short-sighted edict but, instead, adhering to his faith in a personal, non-intrusive manner. He isn’t hurting anyone.
Now, in this age when our right to freely worship and believe as we choose is under attack, would we have the courage to do the same? That isn’t an easy thing to answer, especially in a time where government seems hell-bent on extending its control over more and more of our actions. Daniel exercised his rights – given to him as a follower of the one true God and king – by getting on his knees and facing west, towards Jerusalem. It’s an act that, a thousand years later, Muslims would appropriate for their own practice. 1400 years after that, would you or I have the guts to, say, worship in our workplace? Or hold a prayer service in the school hallway? Maybe take off your mask and go to church when the government shuts things down?
Jesus did, and He asks us to do the same: to focus our prayers to God. Jesus asks us to do what Daniel did: go into a quiet room, alone, and pray out our hearts to God, who will see and listen to us. Then, after, to be unafraid in standing up for what we believe. You don’t have to be Peter in the temple courts; you don’t have be Billy Graham in front of thousands. You simply have to say, “I believe,” because you know deep inside that Jesus ran to rescue you when you and I were still mired in sin. We hit our knees because we’re knee-deep in it. This isn’t about some religion; this isn’t about defiance, or even facing a conspiracy. It’s about following Jesus.
Daniel wasn’t a superhero, and he wasn’t perfect. He probably understood the score. He could see the conspiracy stacked against him and probably understood it could result in his death. He probably felt scared. Yet, when faced with adversity strengthening against him, Daniel prayed anyway.
For further reading: 1 Kings 8:29, Psalm 95:6, Matthew 6:6, Acts 5:29, Daniel 6:10
Lord God, steady me today. You and You alone are my salvation. Thank You and all my praise to You for this. Abide with me, Lord.
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