A Prayer from a Humble Heart

Geoffrey Cox

READ : Daniel 9:1-19

I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed . . . (v. 4, niv)

The Holy Spirit intends us to take the whole book of Daniel seriously. Whatever prophetic mysteries it contains, its real subject is God; the “God-ness” of God, the power and majesty of God.

As a new empire replaces the Babylonians (vv. 1-2), Daniel is reminded of another prophecy: that the Exile, when the Jews were transported from Jerusalem to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, would last just 70 years. That “term limit” prophesied by Jeremiah implied a word of hope, so Daniel prays. Prayers recorded in the Bible are helpful models on which to base our own. Here is a God-focused, God-filled prayer, which starts by invoking God’s character and nature before going on to positive requests.

See how Daniel pleads God’s character. He begins with God’s greatness and faithfulness (vv. 4, 15-16). He acknowledges God as just and righteous (vv. 7, 14, 16). What he asks for is based on God’s covenant love and mercy (vv. 4, 9). Then Daniel admits his sin and that of his people, not just in generalities but in detailed confession (vv. 5, 10-11, 13). Finally, he asks for definite action from God (vv. 16-19), not because he deserves anything, but because “of your great mercies.”

PRAYER

We praise you, Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him.