Private Prayer

“Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help.”—Daniel 6:11 (NIV)

The irony of Daniel 6:11 is that “these men” wanted to find Daniel praying. And, of course, they got exactly what they were hoping for. Ponder for a second how humorous this is. These men weren’t plotting to catch Daniel doing anything shameful, immoral, or illegal. They actually wanted to catch him praying in private. Well, guess what? When they caught him they must have been thinking, Yes! We finally have proof against this guy.

When we look at this situation, we can see how backwards and hilarious it is that the proof they were after was Daniel’s earnestness in prayer. At the same time, we can also see a picture of faithfulness to God. The men who were after Daniel knew they could count on him to be praying. Of all the things in the world that Daniel could be known for, he was known as a man of prayer. Daniel prayed and inquired of God so frequently that it became the activity the men below him knew they could catch him doing.

Now, let’s move the attention to ourselves. What are you known for? What can people count on you to do? While our vocation, power, and influence in life may change, our relationship with the Lord must always remain at the forefront. Daniel did not allow his growth in power and responsibility to diminish his relationship with God. There is something to be said about a man who gains the respect of men while maintaining his allegiance toward God. Even after Daniel grew in favor, He still sought the Lord for His fulfillment.

As a Christ-follower today, what matters most to you? I’ll be direct. Do you care more about living in obedience to God or how other people view you? We must remember that Daniel never wavered. Faithfulness to God through prayer is not glamorous. Consistent, private prayer is not recognized by others; however, it is recognized by God. This should be a big deal to us, not in a legalistic way but in the way that our desire for God deepens. Private prayer is driven by awe for God. Each time we pray, our hearts for God deepens. It should be significant to us that God desires to listen to our prayers despite already knowing our hearts.

All in all, Daniel’s view of God was so high that the laws of mankind around him couldn’t cause him to waver in his relationship with God. What about you? Does your relationship with God rule your life or do your circumstances? As we learn from Daniel, the way you live your life is the answer to that question.

DIG: Read 1 Samuel 2:1, Psalm 85:11, and Matthew 6:6.

DISCOVER: What does it look like to be a person of prayer?

DO: Be intentional to pray multiple times per day this week. Be open to pray for people, to pray with people, to pray about different things, and to pray in moments of different emotions.