A Study in Daniel: Pray No Matter What

bible book studies Jan 13, 2024

How to Thrive in Babylon

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."       

"Wisdom in the Jewish conception comes from God and hence focuses on the capacity for moral discernment issuing in wise choices: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and there is good understanding to all who practice it. And piety toward God is the beginning of discernment, but the impious regard wisdom and instruction as worthless" (lxx [Greek translation] Prov 1:7)." [1]

Pray No Matter What

It would not surprise me if Daniel knew that this group was spying on and plotting against him. Once the decree was published that "anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions' den," would Daniel continue to pray? Or would he be wiser to cease praying for the 30 days? What about trying to pray secretly so no one would see him? Or he could have flaunted his beliefs by going out in the middle of the public square to pray. Daniel neither hid nor flaunted his devotion. He continued his normal practice. What about you? Have you struggled with either showing off your spiritual devotion or hiding it?

We hear no tension from Daniel, no angst or anxiety or fear. He continued his prayers. Daniel was captive to a higher law, to a greater King. "In a word, Daniel would rather be eaten by lions than stop praying to God." [i] 

To live faithfully in Babylon, we must follow Daniel in regular prayer to The God, who is more significant than unjust laws. We must stay faithful in prayer in the face of legal manipulation and the beginning of death threats.

Daniel uses three verbs, and they are all participles indicating continuing action: bowing, praying, and thanking. This is not an emergency prayer by Daniel but his daily habit. How amazing that he was giving thanks considering a soon, certain meeting with hungry lions.  

Will we show this Daniel-like courageous faith when we must choose?

Daniel was forbidden to pray at all. If we are ever forbidden to have Bibles or pray, we should refuse to give up our Bibles and keep praying. In the next scene, we see the third Danielic character trait that shows us how to thrive in Babylon.  

[1] Wahlen, C. "Wisdom, Greek." Ed. Tremper Longman III and Peter Enns. Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry & Writings 2008: 844. Print.

[i]. Longman, Daniel, 167.


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