Learning to Love and Pray Like Daniel
In the midst of learning new things about spiritual warfare, I landed on one of Daniel’s prayers for the Israelites (Daniel 9:3-19). This is a model prayer we can follow for our own nation. We can also adapt it as a prayer for those heart-wrenching situations where someone we love is living separated from God.
There is so much for us to learn about prayer in this short passage. Here are just a few things that I noticed today.
1. Daniel was willing to suffer in prayer. Daniel didn’t just pray. Daniel chose to fast (most likely from food). As he denied himself the right to eat, he also denied himself comfortable clothing. He wore burlap (sack cloth). This is really convicting to me. Daniel’s choice to pray for his people while they were acting as enemies of God is a love that “bears all things.” Daniel was bearing the sorrow that his people should have been feeling. Do you see a glimpse of Jesus in this choice?
2. Daniel, a righteous man, confessed to God the sins of other people. He even used the word “we.” Again, he is bearing the weight of something that he likely did not do. He is showing us real love for people. This is another foreshadowing of Jesus who took on the sins of the world.
3. Daniel asks God to act on behalf of His own people. He reminds God that they bear His name and they are being mocked. He is asking for God to be merciful to sinners and the reason is to make sure God’s name is held in high honor. The Israelites were God’s people and we are now Jesus’ people. We are in Christ and when we pray in Jesus name, we are saying like Daniel “please God, overlook our sins and act so that Jesus’ name will not be mocked.”
Daniel’s love for God’s people expressed in prayer is a neon sign pointing to my lack of sacrificial love for others. I pray much more than I used to. But I am not where I need to be. I’m thankful that God is merciful and is using this passage to show me that I need to grow in my ability to love people, especially those who are far from God.
The good news is … I am pregnant with that love. That’s how Joyce Meyer describes the seeds of God’s goodness on the inside of us. We are temples of the living God. His Spirit has impregnated us with the fruit of His love (the fruit of His Spirit.)
Daniel’s prayer is motivating me to ask God to nurture that seed of love in me. By His mighty power, Jesus’ love can be expressed through me. It will move me to sacrifice more often on behalf of those who bear His name and those who could bear His name (future Christ followers).
I would love to hear how this prayer (shared below) is inspiring your conversations with God.
3 So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and fasting. I also wore rough burlap and sprinkled myself with ashes.
4 I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed:
“O Lord, you are a great and awesome God! You always fulfill your covenant and keep your promises of unfailing love to those who love you and obey your commands. 5 But we have sinned and done wrong. We have rebelled against you and scorned your commands and regulations. 6 We have refused to listen to your servants the prophets, who spoke on your authority to our kings and princes and ancestors and to all the people of the land.
7 “Lord, you are in the right; but as you see, our faces are covered with shame. This is true of all of us, including the people of Judah and Jerusalem and all Israel, scattered near and far, wherever you have driven us because of our disloyalty to you. 8 O Lord, we and our kings, princes, and ancestors are covered with shame because we have sinned against you. 9 But the Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him. 10 We have not obeyed the Lord our God, for we have not followed the instructions he gave us through his servants the prophets. 11 All Israel has disobeyed your instruction and turned away, refusing to listen to your voice.
“So now the solemn curses and judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured down on us because of our sin. 12 You have kept your word and done to us and our rulers exactly as you warned. Never has there been such a disaster as happened in Jerusalem. 13 Every curse written against us in the Law of Moses has come true. Yet we have refused to seek mercy from the Lord our God by turning from our sins and recognizing his truth.14 Therefore, the Lord has brought upon us the disaster he prepared. The Lord our God was right to do all of these things, for we did not obey him.
15 “O Lord our God, you brought lasting honor to your name by rescuing your people from Egypt in a great display of power. But we have sinned and are full of wickedness. 16 In view of all your faithful mercies, Lord, please turn your furious anger away from your city Jerusalem, your holy mountain. All the neighboring nations mock Jerusalem and your people because of our sins and the sins of our ancestors.
17 “O our God, hear your servant’s prayer! Listen as I plead. For your own sake, Lord, smile again on your desolate sanctuary.
18 “O my God, lean down and listen to me. Open your eyes and see our despair. See how your city—the city that bears your name—lies in ruins. We make this plea, not because we deserve help, but because of your mercy.
19 “O Lord, hear. O Lord, forgive. O Lord, listen and act! For your own sake, do not delay, O my God, for your people and your city bear your name.”
Share Your Prayers
I’m excited to announce my new line of prayer greeting cards. Many times people need to know that our love for them is at work through our prayers for them. And they need the encouragement from Scripture to know that God is able to for them what they so desperately need.
Each card features an angel (printed from one of my original paintings). The back of the card offers a prayer based and the Scripture reference which shows the ministry of God’s angels in the Bible. The cards are printed as a 5×7 on high quality paper which makes the card easy to frame for you or the person you send the card to. Click on over to my website to see the cards. Here are a few examples:
About Jennifer O. White
I'm a simple wife who has discovered God's amazing gift of prayer. Here at Prayerfully Speaking I share my journey of unwrapping this gift. God invites us to ask Him, but His enemy works diligently to keep that from happening. I hope to offer you encouragement to believe God is ready to pour more into your life than you've ever imaged.