Monday, November 4, 2019

The Habit of Prayer

Monday, November 4, 2019
Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously. Daniel 6:10
Daniel’s Example
The story of Daniel being thrown into the lion’s den is one of the stories we heard a lot as a child in church.  But who was Daniel and why exactly did God shut the mouths of those lions? Daniel was taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, when he conquered Jerusalem.
Daniel was smart and he had lots of potential, so the king trained him and used him in his court.  Daniel was also a good Christian man, who God blessed.  As a result of his good character, Daniel rose quickly in prominence, and favor with the king. Other men in the kingdom became jealous of Daniel and the favor he was receiving from the king. They watched him, looking for ways they could make him look bad.  They realized that if they were going to discredit Daniel it would have to be at the point of his religion. They could not get him on any other issue. So they persuaded the king to pass a decree to put to death in the lion’s den anyone who prayed to any god except the king. Daniel heard about the decree but he was not deterred by it. He had been faithful to God all of his life and the decree of the king was not going to change that. It didn’t stop Daniel from doing exactly what he had been doing - praying. In studying Daniel’s life we can learn about some things we can do that will help us to have a stronger prayer life like Daniel.
The Habit of Prayer
News like this would have been terrifying to most of us. I only hope that I would be so bold if faced with the same set of circumstances.  Daniel already had a habit of prayer established so the first thing he wanted to do was to pray!  If we don’t have a relationship of prayer already established with God, prayer is not the first thing we think of when life goes wrong, or if it is, it is out of desperation.
God wants a relationship with us, and communication is essential in all relationships. He doesn’t want to just be our fair-weather friend, where we use prayer as an emergency measure in our life. But our God is a good God and when we get distracted in the easy times and drop the ball a little on our communication with Him, He is still there. He doesn’t go away when we gaze elsewhere. He is patient and kind with us, and never turns away when we run back in stress.
Daniel had every reason to fall on his knees and start frantically praying “God save me! God, how could You let this happen?  Don’t You love me?  This is not fair!”  But he didn’t say any of those things. He prayed thanking God, just like he did every day.  His habit of prayer helped him focus on God and not the circumstances he was facing.  He had no control over the circumstances, but he had control of how he handled them. Even though this very act of kneeling before God and praying to Him was what these evil, jealous men were attacking, Daniel still kneeled, with the windows open, and prayed to God. He chose to fix his eyes on what he knew, what he was sure of, and that was God. He knew where his help and hope came from. 
Prayer is focusing on God and on God and His resources and power.  Prayer is recalling the promises of God and resting in them.  Prayer is releasing the problem to Him and awaiting His instruction and deliverance. If you don’t have a habit of prayer established already, start today.  God wants us to pray about everything. He wants us to tell Him how we feel and what we think, and to bring all our concerns and questions to Him.  Fix your eyes on Him and not your circumstances. He is ready and waiting and so much more capable than we are to handle our problems.
You keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in you.
 Isaiah 26:3

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