We, like Daniel, must own not just our own sinful tendencies but also the legacy of sin and destruction our predecessors have left behind. When it is in our power to do so, we are to repair the damage already done – to act responsibly, even when we aren’t responsible for the destruction. Doing so reaps the following benefits:
1. We can avoid repeating mistakes.
2. We learn to be cautious about our own lives and actions.
3. We learn to recognize the awesome character of God, who in his sovereignty brings judgment and by his mercy and grace offers forgiveness and restoration.
4. We discern that ‘God’s best’ for our lives, including his best economic blessings, is in the future, not in the past or present.
The writer sets Daniel and his humble attitude in sharp contrast to the pride and complacency of King Nebuchadnezzar. In fact, Daniel so avoids prides that he represents of not only his own sin but also his people’s sin (Lev 26:40-42).
Author Beth Moore addresses this prayer passage in a Bible study on the book of Daniel. She reflects:
“We are so culturally indoctrinated to be fast-paced, high-energy, hands-on kinds of people that we tend to think of prayer as a passive, nearly ‘do-nothing’ reaction. We tend to pray when we don’t know what else to do. Beloved, nothing shakes the heavenlies like prayer. Nothing moves the heart of God more than prayer!”
Pray when we don’t know what to do! Pray when we do! Pray, pray, pray! We don’t have to be formal. We don’t have to be long-winded. Prayer is deliberate, open communication with God. I can sit silently in an intense awareness of His presence, waiting on Him and trying to listen and still be in a posture of prayer. I can groan and be in such pain of heart that words fail me, and God will interpret those groans as the vocabulary of prayer.
Daniel’s search of Scripture prompted interaction. Consider the practice carefully. Scripture reading was the way Daniel allowed God to speak to him in this context, then prayer was the way Daniel spoke back.
When you read the Bible, the God is talking to you. So, what should you do in response? Talk back! God is looking for a two-way conversation. When we read God’s Word and pause here and there to say something to Him in response, we are participating in a dialogue with the God.