Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "O Lord Thou Art My God And King"1 (Lyrics)
I love to read, so I haunt thrift shops and yard sales for interesting titles. Recently, I found an old one, Prayer, Conversing with God, by Rosalind Rinker (Zondervan, 1963). As often happens when I begin to study a topic, I see similar Scriptures and examples everywhere in my daily readings.
This is so true of Daniel, who was a man of prayer. I've heard these stories often, but with my recent focus on prayer, I'm reading them in a different light. For example, interpreting Nebuchadnezzar's dream became a matter of life and death.
Daniel 2:17-18 – Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. (NIV)
They evidently did pray, for the Lord revealed the dream and its interpretation to Daniel, and the lives of the wise men were saved.
A few chapters later, Daniel's exemplary life angered the other officials. To target Daniel, they convinced the king to issue a decree that no one was to pray to anyone but the king or they would be thrown in the lion's den.
Daniel 6:10 – Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. (NIV)
The king was anguished at having to implement his command against Daniel, but he did. We know "the rest of the story" — as Paul Harvey used to say — God protected Daniel. At the first light of dawn, the king rushed to the den. He was amazed and grateful that Daniel was unharmed, and he proceeded to throw Daniel's accusers — and their families — into that same den. Their gods didn't protect them!
I haven't been confronted with situations as dramatic as these, but there were some that seemed pretty desperate when I was going through them. Thankfully, I can remember some — but not all — when I turned to the Lord in anguished prayer for a solution. I pray that we all can remember that God understands our needs, and that, like Daniel and his friends, we can turn to Him in prayer anytime and anywhere.
Philippians 4:6 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (NIV)
Prayer: Father, we don't want to be anxious and full of worry. We want to submit our lives and all our situations, good or bad, to You. Give us the desire and the will to do that day by day, minute by minute. We pray this in Your holy name. Amen.