Daniel's Covenant Prayer
Daniel’s Prayer for Revival
Daniel’s Prayer for Revival
A refresher on Daniel
A refresher on Daniel
Jew: exiled from his homeland by the Babylonian army
A government official and a very wise man: interprets the dreams of kings
A Godly man: he refuses to stop praying to God even at the cost of his life and job
The bulk of the chapter is Daniel’s personally recorded prayer
Before he begins, he sees fit to tell us two things
First, the recorded events take place in the first year of Darius
What is happening in the first year of Darius?
The Babylonian city, where Daniel and other Jews were captives, had just been captured by Darius.
This was important to Daniel. As a government official he knew that a change in government often meant a change in policies.
Second, his prayer was prompted by reading the letter of Jeremiah to the captives.
This letter reminded them that their own sins against the LORD had led to their exile
It also promised that after 70 years, God would punish Babylon for its violence and allow the Jews to begin returning to their homeland.
Thus, Daniel, seeing the fall of Babylon, remembered the words of Jeremiah, who told the people that God would have mercy on them after 70 years of exile.
What did Daniel do? Did he throw a party? Pack his bags? Book tickets back to Israel? The first Daniel did was got down and prayed. More important to Daniel than being restored to his homeland was seeking a restored relationship with God.
v.4-6 Contrasting God and Israel’s covenantal preformance.
notice how Daniel addresses God. He calls him great and awesome. Daniel had first hand experience of God’s awesome care. God had helped Daniel interpret dreams and had saved him from death multiple times.
He calls him great and awesome. Daniel had first hand experience of God’s greatness. The heathen nations around Daniel believed that gods were only concerned with those people within a certain jurisdiction. If you were outside the land where a heathen god was said to be in charge, that god would no longer care for you. But time and time again, Daniel’s God showed that he was not limited to the country of Judah. Rather, Daniel’s God shows up time and time again to protect and help Daniel throughout the book of Daniel. Several times in the book of Daniel, the heathen kings whom Daniel served praised God as the God of gods, as the king of kings. Daniel begins his prayer by acknowledging God’s might.
He also calls him the one who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments.
Daniel is using covenant language here. Further on we will see him mention the Law of Moses. This is also called a covenant. In the covenantal section of the Law of Moses (See ), God agrees to bless Israel if they obey, and to curse them and send them into captivity if they disobey. Daniel is saying that not only is God mighty, but he is also fair and just.
Israel, on the other hand, has willfully failed to obey God.
It is not that they forgot about God’s law. To make this clear, Daniel mentions the prophets. The prophets were somewhat like God’s supervisors. The nation was warned time and again about their persistent disobedience by these men and women.
Note how Daniel places guilt on the whole of the Jewish nation. He says the prophets were sent to the kings, the princes, the fathers, and to all the people of the land. And still the whole nation was uninterested in following God’s commands.
What was the result
Twice the law of Moses is mentioned (vv. 11-12,13)
This is the covenant which all of Israel agreed to keep ()
This covenant came with blessings and curses.
Blessings if they worshiped the Lord, trusting in him to provide, and treating each other fairly and generously.
Curses if they worshiped other god’s, trusting in human strength, and cheating one another.
v. 14: Daniel says that the calamity was kept ready. When Israel began to trust in gods of wealth, and gods of war, and began to treat their neighbors and even their family unfairly, and would not listen to the prophets, but killed them, God allowed those curses written in the Law of Moses to fall upon the people of Israel.
Nowadays, the world doesn’t want to hear of a God who judges, or who sends people to hell. To them it seems unfair.
Daniel has a different idea. He says God is right for doing as he did (v. 14). Daniel is clearing God’s name, saying that the Jews have received what is their due.
I like how he summarizes the position of God and Israel in v.15
God, you have been gracious and just to Israel
And in return, we have been ungrateful and foolish children.
Daniel, however, does not stop there.
Daniel has just acknowledged to God that his people have been complete and utter heels to God, and now he has the audacity to ask for God’s mercy?
How can Daniel ask for mercy in light of Israel’s complete and utter failure? He can ask because his confidence does not lie in Israel’s character. (See and repeat first highlighted section). His confidence lies in his personal and a Biblical knowledge God’s mercy and grace
He can ask because his confidence is not on Israel’s character.
Daniel’s knowledge of God’s character was personal: this God to whom he prays has saved him from lions, from angry kings who has sent angels to protect his friends and explain dreams.
Rather his confidence is
Daniel’s knowledge of God’s character was also Biblical: Daniel tells us of his study of Jeremiah’s letter earlier at the beginning of the chapter (). This is a God, who while delivering the bad news of certain punishment through Babylon , promised a coming restoration.
What can Daniel teach us about prayer for revival
First, prayer is not focused on getting what we want
Daniel isn’t thanking God that he
After reading Jeremiah’s letter, Daniel didn’t say “It’s about time,” and quickly pack his bags for Israel.
Rather, he was focused on restoring the damaged relationship between Israel and her loving and gracious God.
You may have many people on your mind, for whom you pray. Perhaps friends with illnesses, or children who are busy. While it is good to pray for health and peace, remember that the most important thing you can ask for is a right relationship to God through Jesus Christ.
Second, prayer for revival is not based on our goodness, but on God’s goodness.
God is like that good Father or Mother, who disciplines their child when they act in ways harmful to themselves and others, but genuinely wants what is best for their child.
Often, people complain that the church is full of hypocrites. They often feel like they should leave the church because of this. Daniel shows us a better way. He was well aware of his nation’s failures. But rather than separating himself from his people, when he prayed, he included himself. He said “we have sinned.” Only a heart who has been forgiven by the grace and mercy of Christ will pray for others to experience this same fellowship. (
Just because God promises revival does not negate the need to passionately pray for it.
Daniel knew that God had promised to bring back the exiles. But he still engaged in “prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.” (v.3b)
It is not that our urgent prayers speeds God’s hand. To passionately pray is not to force God’s hand, but to constantly mold our thoughts to the thoughts of the Father. When we have his Spirit, we begin to see things and people as he sees them. (; )
I urge you to pray for the churches of Steinbach, and the Church all over the world. In these times, especially the North American Church faces pressure to pursue wealth, or popularity, or to relax God’s standard of holiness for marriage. It is tempting to become lukewarm about the Gospel in a land of plenty. It is difficult to preach the truth about God’s kingdom in lands where man thinks he can govern himself. Continue to pray for the churches; that we would remain holy, that we would preach the Gospel fearlessly, and that we would submit to God’s guidance.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2016), .
“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”