Summary: Series on men and women’s prayers in the Bible that made a difference and how prayer truly is the difference maker in our lives. I borrowed the outlines from SermonCentral Pro Contributor Tim Byrd.
Daniel: The Pay-off of Prayer
In his book Deep Thoughts, Jack Handey writes: There used to be this bully who would demand my lunch money every day. Since I was smaller, I would give it to him. Then I decided to fight back. I started taking karate lessons. But then the karate lesson guy said I had to start paying him five dollars a lesson. So I just went back to paying the bully. Too many people feel it is easier just to pay the bully than it is to learn how to defeat him.
We live in a society that wants to bully us around and wants us to conform to its ways, but we are called by Christ to be different. Romans 12:1-2 tells us to not conform but be transformed. To be different than the world and I’ve noticed that even if you’re not a Christian, there’s a sense in which life is a struggle to conform. That’s because you and I were never meant to live in a world like the one we find ourselves in. You and I were not created to live in a world that has the presence of sin, injustice, wrongdoing and evil. That was never God’s intention for you or me. And so we feel this pressure to conform to the world around us.
So, whether you are a Christian or not, Daniel has some great advice on how to rise above the ordinary in this world, how to live the life for God in a secular society.
Tonight we come to a message in our study and series of “Prayers that made a difference”, about a great man of prayer. Daniel is most recognized as the one who was thrown into the lion’s den but escaped unharmed because of God’s protection.
Let’s look at Daniel’s life but most importantly his prayer life.
I. The Person of Prayer. V.1-9
The story of Daniel in the lions’ den has to rank, I would imagine, in the top ten of the most familiar and beloved passages of scripture. Daniel was brought as a teenager-captive, to Babylon. At the setting of this text Daniel is nearly 90 years old. A whole lot of changes have taken places. They have changed his name. They have changed his language. They’ve changed his homeland. However, they could not change his heart. With all of the changes that have taken place, Daniel is the same man at 90 that he was at 19 and he honored God at 90 just like he honored him at 19. For when we read the book of Daniel, we read that Daniel honored God. And because he honored God, God exalted Daniel; even in the midst of captivity.
Daniel chapter 6 says that King Darius has placed a120 princes over the providence of Babylon. He has made three men president over all the princes. And one of the three was the prophet, Daniel. In fact, the Bible says that he was preferred over the other two presidents. And the king had given thought to placing Daniel over all of the others. In the midst of that, those other princes and presidents began to look at Daniel with eyes of envy. And so they tried to find some fault in Daniel as it related to the kingdom. But they could find nothing against Daniel as it related to the kingdom. And they decided that if we’re going to find some fault in Daniel...if there is anything that we’re going to be able to get after him about, it must be concerning the law of his God.
Now for as obedient and as loyal as Daniel was to the king and the kingdom of Babylon, we know that he was even more loyal to the God that he served!
So these men conspired together and they come up with this plan and they went to the king and they said to the king, “For the next 30 days, king we want you to sign a decree that no one shall pray to any other god or man except you. And if anyone is found praying to any other god or man except you for the next 30 days, let that man be thrown to a den of lions.” The king liked the sound of that, it sounded pretty good to him. The decree was written and the king signed it and it was put into effect. And the word says, “Daniel, knowing that the decree had been signed, went into his house, went up into his chamber, opened his window towards Jerusalem kneeled down and prayed three times a day. You see folks it was business as usual for Daniel.
II. The Place of Prayer. V. 10-13
The decree was sent out that no one would worship or pray to a god other than the king of Babylon. Therefore, the scheming officers lost no time in proclaiming the king’s decree. So Daniel’s enemies were watching and waiting to trap him and they knew this was the only way to catch him because they had seen him praying there many times before. The reason they had seen him praying there is because Daniel prayed morning, noon, and evening. So his enemies wanted to catch Daniel as soon as possible because the sooner Daniel was out of the way, the sooner they could start running the country for their own profit.