Summary: The key to Daniel’s success was that he was a man of the Word and a man of persistant prayer
DANIEL – A man of prayer
The book of the prophet Daniel isn’t a book that we read very often.
I don’t think I have ever preached from it in my life
If you were to ask the average Brit who Daniel was, he either would not know or remember him as being the man who was thrown in a lion’s den and coming out on top.
But I doubt we get much more.
Our Old Testament reading is taken for the last Chapter of Daniel – Chapter 12.
Here we read of an angel from God revealing future prophetic secrets.
Now I asked myself the question: Why doesn’t that happen to a lot more of us?
What was so special about Daniel?
Indeed who was he?
Almost all we know about Daniel comes from the book that bears his name
In Judaism, names generally have significance and the name Daniel is no exception.
It means "God is my judge."
Not much is known about his early years, but he appears to have been of upper class, perhaps even from the royal family.
He was taken captive to Babylon as a teenager in 605 B.C. (Dan 1:1-3)
2. Daniel’s Career
The book of Daniel opens with Daniel beginning his service to the royal court.
It was Babylonian policy to take the brightest young men from conquered nations and assimilate them – and for Daniel this meant service in the royal court.
However Daniel’s commitment to God was such that he decided to abstain from meat (possibly because Daniel considered it unclean) that was provided by the king for his budding courtiers (Daniel 1:8-16).
Despite the risk that the royal official in charge of their food was running, God granted Daniel favour with the official who agrees to change his diet to a vegetable diet.
Far from looking sickly with his new diet, as the official had feared, Daniel and his Hebrew friends are healthier than the other budding meat eating courtiers. (Dan 1:15)
Three years later, Daniel was brought before the King to interpret the King’s dream and was the only one able to do so. (Dan 2:46-47)
The king was so overawed that he made Daniel "ruler over the whole province of Babylon" and "chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon" (Dan 2:48).
Daniel remained in governmental service throughout the reigns of the kings of Babylon and into the reign of Cyrus of Persia after the Persians became the
dominant world power (Dan 1:21; 10:1).
3. Daniel’s qualities
i) Good administrator
Daniel was clearly a very able man and his talents for administration were clearly recognised. Like Joseph before him, he was a great administrator.
ii) Man of Prayer
He was also an outstanding man of prayer.
One commentator has written
“It was prayer that energised his spiritual life and through it God gave him supernatural wisdom to interpret visions and administer a large kingdom
He relied not only on his own prayers but asked others to pray for him (Dan 2:16-19)”
In Daniel 6 we read of other jealous colleagues, other administrators, trying to trap and remove him from high office. As they could not find any wrongdoing in his affairs of state, they try to trap him through his prayer life.
They persuade King Darius to sign a law that for thirty days anyone caught praying to any God other than the king should be thrown into the lion’ den
They knew Daniel would be caught because it was his habit to pray at least three times a day faithfully and publically, despite opposition even if that was to mean his death (Daniel 6:10).
iii) Daniel read and meditated on Scripture
Daniel studied the scripture.
We find him for example in Chapter 9, reading and meditating in particular on the writings of the Prophet Jeremiah (Dan 9:2).
As he meditated on them, he realised that the captivity of his people in Babylon was a judgement of God on.
Instead of looking down on them with distain, we see Daniel praying for his people. He was an intercessor
This is just one of his recorded prayers
17 Therefore, our God, hear the prayer and the petitions of Your servant.
Show Your favour to Your desolate sanctuary for the Lord’s sake.
18 Listen, my God, and hear.
Open Your eyes and see our desolations and the city called by Your name.
For we are not presenting our petitions before You based on our righteous acts, but based on Your abundant compassion.
19 Lord, hear! Lord, forgive! Lord, listen and act!
My God, for Your own sake, do not delay, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name. (Dan 9:17-19)
Daniel identifies with sinners, very much as Jesus did – the friend of sinners.