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"Daniel, the Man of Prayer" (posted September 11, 2019)

   Then these men said, "We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God."
   So [they]... said thus to [the king]:... "All the governors... the counselors and advisors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree and sign the writing, so that it cannot be changed."
   - Daniel 6:5-9

Daniel is evidently aware of all that is taking place, and yet apparently he makes no charge against these wicked men, nor does he seek to defend himself. His faith is in God, not in himself or his own efforts. His part is simply to obey God and leave the results with Him.

Consequently, in verse 10, he goes to his house and, as usual, he prays towards Jerusalem three times a day, the windows of his house being open. In all this there is no ostentation; he simply acts "as was his custom since early days." Having been in the habit of praying in this open way, suddenly to close the windows and pray in secret would have been interpreted by all Babylon as cowardice, or acquiescence in the decree. In the midst of that idolatrous city Daniel had borne a public witness to the true God. He was not a secret disciple.

To obey the decree would involve the transgression of the first commandment. Moreover, the word of God gave Daniel plain directions for the circumstances in which he found himself. Solomon"s prayer, at the dedication of the Temple, anticipated his difficulties: "When they come to themselves in the land where they were carried captive... and pray to You toward their land which You gave to their fathers, the city which You have chosen and the temple which I have built for Your name: then hear, in heaven Your dwelling place, their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause" (1 Kings 8:47-49).

Such was Solomon's prayer, and God accepted his prayer, for the Lord said, "I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before Me" (1 Kings 9:3). In faith in God, Daniel acted according to the word of God. He refused to make any compromise.

The carnal, self-centered mind might suggest, Why not close the window and pray in secret? Refusing any such compromise, he prayed "with his windows open." But if he must pray with his window open, why select a front room facing towards the street? Without hesitation he prayed in his room "toward Jerusalem." But if he must pray with an open window toward Jerusalem, why need he go down on his knees; could he not assume some other position that would not call attention to the fact that he was praying? No, Daniel will not give up the right attitude toward God; "he knelt down on his knees."

If, then, he is so very strict that he must pray with his windows open, looking toward Jerusalem and kneeling upon his knees, what need is there for doing it "three times a day"? Surely he could pray early in the morning before anyone is abroad, or late in the evening after everyone has retired? Indeed, could he not for these thirty days give up praying by day and pray by night instead? God can see and hear in the dark.

No such suggestions influence Daniel: he prays three times, and in the day. And though he is in captivity, and surrounded by those who are plotting for his life, he finds occasion to give thanks as well as to pray. Moreover, he prays and gives thanks "before his God." Men may see him praying, but it is before God, not men, that he prays. This was no new thing with Daniel.

Hamilton Smith

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