God’s Story... For My Life - Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Prayer for a People
Read Daniel 9:1-19
So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and fasting. I also wore rough burlap and sprinkled myself with ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: “O Lord, you are a great and awesome God! You always fulfill your covenant and keep your promises of unfailing love to those who love you and obey your commands. But we have sinned and done wrong. We have rebelled against you and scorned your commands and regulations. We have refused to listen to your servants the prophets, who spoke on your authority to our kings and princes and ancestors and to all the people of the land.
“Lord, you are in the right; but as you see, our faces are covered with shame. This is true of all of us, including the people of Judah and Jerusalem and all Israel, scattered near and far, wherever you have driven us because of our disloyalty to you. O Lord, we and our kings, princes, and ancestors are covered with shame because we have sinned against you. But the Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him. We have not obeyed the Lord our God, for we have not followed the instructions he gave us through his servants the prophets.”
Continuing with the apocalyptic section of Daniel, which began in chapter 7, the vision in chapter 9 was given to Daniel during the same time period as the events of chapter 6. This Darius is the person mentioned in chapter 6. The Ahasuerus mentioned in Daniel 9:1 is not Esther’s husband. The events described in the book of Esther happened about fifty years later.
In his prayer for the nation Daniel pleaded with God to bring about the promised return of his people to their land. The prophet Jeremiah had written that God would not allow the captives to return to their land for seventy years (Jeremiah 25:11-12; 29:10). Daniel knew of this prophecy and realized that this seventy-year period was coming to an end.
Daniel confessed his own sin, using the pronoun we throughout. If any Israelite was righteous, it was Daniel; and yet he confessed his sinfulness and need for God’s forgiveness. He prayed with complete surrender to God and with complete openness to what God was saying to him.
When you pray, do you speak openly to God? Examine your attitude. Talk to God with humility and honesty, and be ready for God’s reply.