Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Prayer in Daniel

In the book of Daniel, we read that Daniel discovers God’s plan for the exiled people by reading Jeremiah. He realizes that the time of exile foretold is nearing its end. It is almost time for the people of God to return home. What is his response to such exciting news? He begins to pray for God to fulfill His word. To stick to His plan.

This has always baffled me a bit. It is actually an aspect of prayer that has always been a hang-up for me. Why ask God for anything? If we trust that God knows best we should pray that He will do His will, that His plans be fulfilled. But then, God being sovereign, He will already do that. Won’t He? Some would think this sort of conundrum would kill the prayer life of a child of God, but it just hurts the asking part—the petition aspect of prayer. And I have always thought who likes a kid that is always asking for stuff?

There is still a whole lot we can talk to God about. We can talk about how we feel. Tell Him about our plans and ideas and see what He thinks of them. Ask Him to help us understand things of His nature and plans.

And that is where Daniel clarifies the petition aspect of prayer for us. In praying for God’s plans, in talking to God about the things we do understand of His intentions and plans, we grow to know God’s heart better. Why did Daniel pray for God to do something that he already knew God was going to do? To learn more about God’s plan. Why should we pray for things we know God wants, like the salvation of people around us? So that we can learn more about our Father’s heart.

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