Today, I read Daniel 9. It’s a top favourite chapter of mine, particularly within the topic of prayer. Daniel provides such a godly example when it comes to approaching our Heavenly Father in prayer:
He Acknowledges God’s Character
“O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands…” (v4)
He Confesses Sin
“… we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws.” (v5)
He Stands Firm in the Truth
“The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him….” (v9)
He Petitions the Lord… for His Glory
“Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, O Lord, look with favour on your desolate sanctuary… We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay…” (v.17, 18b-19).
I often get into a vicious cycle of forgetting to pray, and then feeling guilty about forgetting such an amazing privilege – realising already how I, a sinner, don’t deserve such intimate communion with a holy God – and the guilt pulls me away from God even further. But I was encouraged by Daniel’s prayer, remembering that, in Christ, I can now approach God in prayer with confidence:
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
If we are in Christ, we ought not to withhold our hearts from the Lord out of guilt or fear; for Christ has removed our guilt, God’s love casts out all fear, and His mercy draws us to Him. If it was good for Daniel to pray for such a wicked nation (and we see that this is so in verse 23, since the angel Gabriel was sent to Daniel to inform him, “as soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed.”) how much more good is it for us who are God’s children to pray also?