Prayer for restoration
God, as I come before You, help me to search my heart, confess my sins and seek Your forgiveness.
Read DANIEL 9:1–19
 In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom-  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.  So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.  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,  we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws.  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.  “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.  We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, LORD, because we have sinned against you.  The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him;  we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets.  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.  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.  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.  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.  “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.  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.  “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary.  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.  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.” Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat is included in Daniel’s prayer?
Not only was Daniel a man of prayer (6:10), but his prayers were rooted in God’s Word. Daniel’s reflection on Scripture prompts him to pray (2,3); his prayers are shaped by what Scripture reveals about this God who is awesome (4), faithful (4b), righteous (7), merciful (9,18) and a mighty deliverer (15). Scripture convicts us of sin. In his comprehensive confession (5–11), Daniel neither downplays nor offers excuses for sin. Daniel bluntly admits “We have been wicked” (5). He accepts the painful consequences of sin (11,12,14) and mourns the lack of true repentance, which involves a complete turning around (13). From praise and confession, Daniel moves to petition. His plea is not based on Israel’s righteousness but on God’s mercy (18). When God’s people sin, God’s name is brought into disrepute (16b). Daniel laments the “desolation” of God’s city (17,18) and longs for the restoration of God’s glory: “For Your sake… because your city and your people bear your Name” (19b).
As you view yourself as part of a family, social class, ethnic group, nation or church, confess corporate sins.
God, we have sought comfort rather than holiness, clever programs rather than Your power, the easy way. Forgive us.