Summary: The beauty of music, art, literature, science, and all of life is to lead us and others to praise God. Thank God for all which kindles love and appreciation for the Author of life.
The point of interest in this passage is not the fact that Daniel and
his friends prayed. This is neither unusual nor surprising under the
circumstances. Their lives were at stake unless they had a direct
revelation from God. One would be shocked if they did anything else
but pray. One does not need to be a unique person of prayer to cry
out to God when the danger is great. Even unbelievers pray when
they face grave danger. The text, therefore, does not even give us the
prayer he offered for help. It gives us the response he made in prayer
after God granted the help by revealing to him the dream and its
When he prayed for help his prayer was a solemn matter of
petition, and his heart would be heavy. He would be on his knees, or
flat on his face earnestly pleading for God's mercy. But in this
response we see a totally different aspect of prayer. It is a matter of
praise, and his heart would be light, and his body so filled with
grateful joy that it is likely he would be standing or walking with eyes
uplifted to heaven. The posture of prayer and the nature of prayer
varies with the circumstances. There is no best way, for it is such a
personal matter of one's own relationship to God that the best is
relative to the individual. Two Christians going to prayer may be
very different, and one may desire to fall on his knees before God
while the other wishes to stand. Daniel goes through both of these in
one night, and it is his shout of praise that is recorded.
Richard Llewellyn in How Green Was My Valley has this
conversation. Mr. Gruffydd, a minister, tells a boy to keep his spirit
clean, and the boy responds, "And how shall it be kept clean, Mr.
Gruffydd?" He said, "By prayer my son, not mumbling, or shouting,
or wallowing like a hog in religious sentiments. Prayer is only
another name for good, clear direct thinking. When you pray, think
well what you are saying, and make your thoughts into things that are
solid. In that manner, your prayer will have strength, and that
strength shall become a part of you, mind, body and spirit. I think
the author has gone to far here in ruling out sentiment and the role of
emotion, but what he does say is good. It fits the character of the
prayers of the Bible.
Some of our best thinking and theology, and practical guidance
for life comes from the prayers of the Bible. Daniel's prayer of praise
is a prayer of solid things and clear thinking. We want to examine if
from the point of view of what it teaches us about God. The first
thing this prayer of praise teaches us is that-
I. GOD IS WORTHY OF PRAISE.
Someone has said, "There is something sweeter than receiving
praise, the feeling of having deserved it." God alone is always
deserving of praise, and that is why Jesus begins the Lord's Prayer
with the adoration, "Hallowed be thy name." Daniel also begins with
adoration: "Blessed be the name of God forever and ever."
Adoration of God is the highest attitude one can have in His presence.
Someone has written, "In adoration the soul comes to God sensible of
His love, majesty, holiness, and infinite greatness; feeling, and seeking
more fully to feel the awe, reverence, and holy affection due to His
great name; it transcends admiration and wonder; it is a blending of
love with the fervent desire that all the world should know and
magnify the glory of the Lord."
Our praise and adoration cannot exalt God objectively for He is
already the highest and ultimate in majesty, but it does exalt Him
subjectively by placing God in His rightful place in our lives and
thinking, and that is right at the top if first place. And attitude of
adoration and praise is essential if we are to have an adequate
concept of, and relationship to God. God alone is worthy of the very
highest of our emotional responses, and if He does not receive them
then we are lacking an allegiance to Him. Or if someone else or
something else receives them we are idolaters.
The occupation of heaven is praise someone said, and this is
because those who are there are fully aware of the majesty of their
Maker. On earth we often slip into an unawareness of the greatness
of the God who loves and saves us. Because of this it is important that
praise be a part of our prayer life, for praise tends to keep us
conscious of our smallness and God's greatness. In petition and
intercession we are usually focusing on self and others and human