Daniel gave “attention to the Lord God, to seek Him by prayer and supplication [pleading], with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed, and said, ‘Oh, Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and faithfulness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, we have sinned, we have done wrong, and acted wickedly and rebelled, even turning aside from Your commandments and ordinances.’”
Daniel began by speaking of who God is and of His character. Daniel acknowledged who God is when he declared God was great and awesome. Daniel acknowledged God’s character through his pronouncement that God keeps His covenants with us and God is faithful to us.
Daniel Sought the Lord
Daniel said he gave attention to the Lord, to seek Him:
Pray – to ask with earnestness; to entreat; to petition; to urge; to implore.
Supplication [pleading] – earnest request; pleading – reasoning to persuade.
Fasting – abstaining from food.
Sackcloth – coarse cloth; a garment worn in mourning, distress or mortification.
Ashes – used to denote humiliation.
The Amplified Bible states it well, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul (life), and with all your mind (thought, understanding), and with all your strength.” Daniel exemplified loving the Lord with all his heart, soul, mind and strength. He humbled himself before the Lord and cried out for himself, his friends and his nation.
Daniel Confessed the Nation’s Sins
Daniel confessed the nation’s sins when he acknowledged:
- We have sinned
- We have done wrong
- We have acted wickedly
- We have rebelled
- We have turned aside from Your commandments
- We have turned aside from Your ordinances
Sinned – to violate the divine law. “Sin is either a positive act in which a known divine law is violated, or it is a voluntary neglect to obey a positive command, or a rule of duty clearly implied in such a command. Sin comprehends not actions only, but neglect of known duty, all evil thoughts, purposes, words and desires, whatever is contrary to God’s commands or laws.”
Wrong – not according to truth; to do injustice.
Injustice – any violations of another’s rights, as fraud in contracts, or the withholding of what is due. It has particular reference to an unequal distribution of rights, property or privileges among persons who have equal claims.”
Unrighteous – “A violation of the divine law, or of the plain principles of justice. It may consist of a single unjust act,” but usually, “denotes a habitual course of wickedness.”
Wickedly – corrupt; immoral, vicious.
Iniquity – injustice; unrighteousness; unjust.
Rebelled – open resistance to lawful authority.
Turned – change of direction.
Commandment – a mandate; charge; precept.
Ordinance – established ceremony, such as baptism or the Lord’s Supper.
Daniel moved beyond his own sins and took his countries sins before the Lord and called what was evil, evil. Daniel agreed with the Lord’s assessments of righteousness and unrighteousness.
Daniel Based Everything on God Himself
Daniel continues his prayer, “Lord, in accordance with all Your righteous acts, let now Your anger and Your wrath turn away from Your city….. So now, our God, listen to the prayer of Your servant and to his pleas, and for Your sake, Lord, let Your face shine on Your desolate sanctuary. My God, incline Your ear and hear! Open Your eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Your name; for we are not presenting our pleas before You based on any merits of our own, but based on Your great compassion. Lord, hear! Lord, forgive! Lord, listen and take action! For Your own sake, my God, do not delay, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”
Lord, we thank You for hearing our prayers. Thank you that You are a God who sees, who hears, who understands and who answers us. Thank you for Your miraculous interventions for Daniel out of the mouth of the lions and out of the hands of his enemies. Thank you for delivering Daniel’s friends out of the fiery furnace. Thank you for being with us in every trial we face.
Thank you for grace in the everyday gifts of service which we give to You first, then to those we serve. Thank you for physical strength, mental clarity, spiritual sensitivity, discernment and favor. Thank you for grace to give freely, expecting nothing in return, knowing You are our Rewarder.
Thank you for giving us a heart after You alone – our True Love. Thank you for leading us in prayer for our nation. Forgive us for walking in unrighteousness and injustice; promoting wickedness, rebellion and iniquity as something of honor in our culture when in reality it is grievous. Forgive us for being an idolatrous people.
In Your great mercy and compassion, we cry out for You to turn our hearts back to You, the Living God. Heal our hearts, our minds, our culture and our very identity. Pour out a spirit of repentance, a spirit of reconciliation, and a spirit of the Fear of the Lord. Restore our nation to be a living testimony that we are a people called by Your Name for Your glory. Amen.
Further Reading Actions:
If you desire to know more about praying for the nations, Lisa’s blog post on Praying for the Nations is available: https://strengthwithdignity.com/praying-for-the-nations/
If you desire to learn how to pray, Lisa’s blog post on the ACTS Prayer Model is a great resource: https://strengthwithdignity.com/teaching-someone-how-to-pray-acts/
Daniel 9:3-5, 16-19; 10:12-14; Mark 12:30
Amplified Bible (AMP), Copyright © 2015 by the Lockman Foundation.
New American Standard Bible, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by the Lockman Foundation.
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. Retrieved on February 15, 2021 from http://webstersdictionary1828.com/
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