Verses 4 through 19 of Daniel 9 are a prayer. Read them again, then read them again after that. They’re a very good prayer for each of us to model.
Daniel was praying for his people. They didn’t know he was praying for them; they were simply going about their business as captives in Babylon. Yet, to Daniel, they were his family. They were God’s chosen people, Israel, who had sinned multitudes of sins and had been punished greatly by God. Many hundreds of years before, God had delivered them from slavery in Egypt. He had provided for them in the deserts, fought battles for them in Canaan, established His covenants with them, protected them from invaders, and prospered them as He had no other kingdom in history. And still they disobeyed God frequently and wickedly.
So, Daniel was praying for them. He had already witnessed God use His servant, Nebuchadnezzar, mete out hard justice on Israel, and he had already witnessed God use His servants Xerxes and Darius mete out harder justice on Nebuchadnezzar’s descendants. Through it all, Israel still had not fully repented of their sins despite being told, through Jeremiah, that the exile in Babylon would last only seventy years. By the time Daniel prayed this, several decades of those seventy years had already come and gone. And still Daniel kept on praying. Perhaps this wasn’t the only time he’d done so, yet it’s the only one recorded here.
Do you pray for your people? Politically, economically, militarily, spiritually, socially: our nation is in a bad way. While our best days may still be yet to come, they will only come if God so blesses them. He has until now, but even to the unspiritual observer, something seems different about today. Our world is in crisis. Everywhere, everyone: we’re living in hard times that are becoming harder.
That means we should pray. Pray for our leaders; pray for our opponents. Pray for those in charge and those who follow behind. Pray for those out of work and those who never stopped working. Pray for enemies. Pray for the sick. If you haven’t prayed before, start today. Just pray. Like Daniel.
For further reading: Deuteronomy 7:21, 2 Chronicles 36:16, Psalm 106.6, Jeremiah 8:14, Jeremiah 44:5, James 5:10, Revelation 10:7, Daniel 9:7
Have mercy on us, O Lord. Grant us Your holy favor once more and forgive our sins.
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