Preaching on Sunday, on Ephesians chapter 1, I summed up the lessons we can learn from Paul’s praying for the Ephesian believers as
We pray biblically when our prayers are rooted in scripture, that is drawing our themes from God’s Word and drawing examples form great men of God
We pray boldly when we draw on the infinite resources we have as our inheritance as a result of being in Christ
We pray big when we lift our eyes above the immediate things which niggle us whatever they may be and ask God to pour his blessings into our lives and the lives of others.
With these three lessons in mind we are going to focus on some of the great prayers that are recorded for us in the Word, starting today with Daniel’s prayer in chapter 9 of the book that bears his name.
In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, by descent a Mede, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans— in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.
Daniel is in exile in Babylon and although by the grace of God he and his three close companions, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego have been protected and elevated to high office in this foreign land, they are conscious that they are away from home and as he prays he acknowledges that the people have brought the exile upon themselves.
This morning I want to highlight just one thing in this great prayer, namely the action that prompted it.
Daniel was reading the ‘books’ which I take it to mean what Old Testament scriptures he had, as he refers specifically to Jeremiah and chapter 25 v.11-12 in our English Bibles. There he discovers the time scale of 70 years of exile and realising that as he writes, much of that period has already passed, he turns to God in prayer earnestly longing and pleading with God that that timescale will be fulfilled and the exile become history rather than sad reality.
This is how he closes his prayer, into which we will dig more deeply in the next few days,
O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name. v.19
I have no wish to force a formula on the passage but is not this a great example of
Praying biblically; Praying boldly and Praying big?
His praying is firmly rooted in God’s Word and God’s promises.
Let us each commit to doing the same as we pray for ourselves, one another and our world.