PRAY LIKE A PROPHET
Teach me today, Lord Jesus.
Read Daniel 9:1–19
9 In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes[a] (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian[b] kingdom— 2 in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. 3 So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.
4 I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed:
“Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.
7 “Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. 8 We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, Lord, because we have sinned against you. 9 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; 10 we have not obeyed the Lord our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. 11 All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you.
“Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. 12 You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing on us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. 13 Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come on us, yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. 14 The Lord did not hesitate to bring the disaster on us, for the Lord our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him.
15 “Now, Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. 16 Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us.
17 “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. 18 Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. 19 Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”
a Daniel 9:1 Hebrew Ahasuerus
b Daniel 9:1 Or Chaldean
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectIs there anyone you can encourage in prayer this week?
Are you ready to see how to pray like a prophet? Begin by looking over the passage again, noting what Daniel says about God and what he says about God’s people—it’s quite the contrast. Our sin is humbling, but God’s love and faithfulness despite it are beyond wonderful.
Why do you pray? Daniel’s prayer came from searching the Scriptures, a deep awareness of sin, and a love for God’s people that made him intercede for them (2,3).
How do you begin your prayers? Daniel began with praise—we are praying to the living God, not a mail-order catalog (4).
When you confess, are you as honest and specific as Daniel is (5–11)? Real confession requires spiritual awareness and humility. We may need to ask God to show us what we need to repent of.
What do you ask God for? Daniel called on God to be himself, to fulfill the promises he made through Jeremiah (15–19), and he uses phrases from the psalms, the Law and the other prophets to do that.
Follow Daniel’s pattern of prayer. What do you want to pray to God about? Don’t dive into speaking thoughtless words, but spend some time reflecting on what you might say to God.
I praise You, my God, for Your loving care of me. Please search my heart and bring me to a true sense of repentance.