As men called to lead our families, prayer should be our go-to tool for guidance and clarity. But is it? Is God the first one we go to for consultation or is He more of a last resort? Daniel was a man who truly knew the value of prayer. Let's dig in and see what we can learn from Daniel.
In the Book of Daniel, King Darius was tricked into passing a law that made it a capital offense to pray to anyone or anything other than himself for a 30-day period of time. If you were caught breaking this law then you were thrown into a den of lions to be devoured.
I fear that, if I were completely honest, if I lived in the time of Daniel my thought process would have been, “Thirty days of not praying won’t be too bad.” I could survive without prayer for a month, right? But for Daniel this was not an option:
When Daniel learned that the document had been signed, he went into his house. The windows in its upper room opened toward Jerusalem, and three times a day he got down on his knees, prayed, and gave thanks to his God, just as he had done before. —Daniel 6:10
Daniel’s first response after discovering that it was unlawful to pray to the One True God was to go to his upstairs room and pray to the One True God. Not spending time with God was simply not an option. Why? Why is it that Daniel would rather give up his life than his prayer time and I would find it easy to skip out on God for a month?
Could it be that we actually pray differently? A majority of my prayers could be summarized as “Give me…” ramblings where I attempt to remind God of all the things I need Him to do for me. Daniel probably had actual conversations with God where they both took turns speaking and listening.
Could it be that I view prayer as a luxury and Daniel saw it as a necessity? If I pray today then great but if I don’t then I’ll just try again tomorrow. Daniel saw prayer the same as most of us view food; he had to do it at least three times a day because it nourished him.
...and three times a day he got down on his knees, prayed, and gave thanks to his God...—Daniel 6:10
Could it be that Daniel’s prayers gave him direction and my prayers come after I’ve made decisions? God revealed to Daniel how to interpret dreams and lead his exiled people and other facets that guided his godly life. I typically make decisions and then retroactively ask God to bless them.
Could it be that Daniel actually enjoyed talking to God as one does a spouse or best friend and I sometimes see prayer as an obligation? Daniel, very literally, was willing to die rather than go one day without talking to God. This is biblical manhood. My prayers, on the other hand, are sometimes fueled by guilt rather than desire.
I seriously doubt Daniel would have risked anything for my prayer life. Biblical fatherhood has a prayer life worth dying for. What about you? Do you have a prayer life worth dying for?
This is a guest post from Eric Ballard. Eric is a youth and college pastor in Texas where he lives with his beautiful wife and two kids. He is the author of several books and loves the Mississippi State Bulldogs, where he attended college for too many years. Find him at ericrballard.com.
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