Not Our Righteousness

Joseph Holbrook, Jr.

READ : Daniel 9:13-19

This is a prayer for a church in trouble. It is a prayer of the deepest agony. Daniel calls to mind the warnings God had given through Moses in Deuteronomy 28. Then he pleads for forgiveness, for cleansing, for healing. If at one of our church gatherings a person were to rise and pray a prayer like this for us, would we identify with it? Do we need to repent like this?

Daniel goes back to the roots of Israel’s history. He remembers that it was not anything in themselves that caused God to choose and love them. It was purely his grace and mercy. He knew that if there was going to be a revival in his day it would come from the same source, the grace and mercy of God. He sees his people caught in the same trap as Paul found the Galatians. “Having begun with the Spirit, are you ending with the flesh?” (Gal. 3:3).

If new life is going to come to our churches, it will come because God breathes it into us. For this we can be praying, as Daniel did, for his people of old. “Not on the grounds of our righteousness but on the ground of thy great mercy, O Lord.” When people pray like that, God acts.


Lord, we confess our sins and our failure to respond with gratitude to your grace. Forgive us for the sake of your Son, Jesus. In his name. Amen.