Read Daniel 10:1-3. What do we again find Daniel doing?
Daniel does not spell out the reasons for his extended mourning period. But such a fervent intercession is most likely motivated by the situation of the Jews, who have just returned from Babylon to Palestine.
Read Ezra 4:1-5. What challenges are the Jews facing upon their return?
We know from Ezra 4:1-5 that at this time the Jews are facing strong opposition as they attempt to rebuild the temple. The Samaritans send false reports to the Persian court, inciting the king to stop the reconstruction work. In the face of such crises, for three weeks Daniel pleads with God to influence Cyrus to allow the work to continue.
At this point, Daniel is probably close to ninety years of age. He does not think about himself but about his people and the challenges that they face. And he persists in prayer for three full weeks before receiving any answer from God. During this time, the prophet follows a very modest diet, abstaining from choice food and even ointment. He is totally unconcerned about his comfort and appearance, but he is deeply concerned about the welfare of his fellow Jews in Jerusalem a thousand miles away.
As we look into Daniel’s prayer life, we learn some valuable lessons. First, we should persist in prayer, even when our petitions are not answered immediately. Second, we should devote time to pray for others. There is something special about intercessory prayers. Remember that “the LORD restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends” (Job 42:10, NKJV). Third, prayer prompts God to do something concrete and real. So let us pray always, all kinds of prayers. In the face of unbearable trials, big problems, and overwhelming challenges, let us take our burdens to God in prayer (Eph. 6:18).
|Read Daniel 10:12. What does this tell us about prayer as an objective experience that moves God to do something, rather than it being just a subjective experience that makes us feel good about God?|