Summary: Exposition of Daniel's prayer in Daniel 9
Text: Daniel 9:4-19, Title: Intense Prayer 201, Date/Place: NRBC, 4/25/10, AM
A. Opening illustration: Praying Hyde story, p. 205-206 The Pleasures of God, Piper
B. Background to passage: In response to his vision of suffering in chapter eight, in addition to the reading of Jeremiah, Daniel is about to go before the Lord in prayer. He has done the examination work of looking at the orientation of His soul, and the disciple of his body through fasting and repentance. Now, Daniel records his prayer for posterity’s sake, so that you and I could benefit from it as an example, not only in what we pray for, but how we pray it.
C. Main thought: This morning we will examine the prayer of Daniel
A. Based not on human righteousness (v. 4, 7, 9, 15, 18)
1. As we mentioned last week, Daniel (even though no sin is recorded committed by him) did not approach God based upon his righteousness. Note how he begins his prayer. He approaches God based on God’s character. Look at other verses. Great and awesome, faithful, covenant keeping, righteous, merciful, and a God who has made a great name for Himself. And he is explicit in v. 18. Daniel pleads to the God who is a faithful covenant keeping God with those who love him and follow his commands. And this prayer was really on behalf of the faithful ones.
2. Isa 64:6, Philip 3:9, Rev 3:17-18, Micah 7:18, Lev 10:3, Rom 4:6,
3. Illustration: “If we do not have this foundational vision of God in place when we ask how we can please Him, it is almost certain that our efforts to please him will become a subtle means of self-exaltation, and end in the oppressive bondage of legalistic strivings” –Piper, "Our peace and confidence are to be found not in our empirical holiness, not in our progress toward perfection, but in the alien righteousness of Jesus Christ that covers our sinfulness and alone makes us acceptable before a holy God." - Donald Bloesch, "For what reason do you hope it?" "Because I have used my best endeavors to serve God," was his reply. The Moravian shook his head and said no more.
4. Proper prayer is always founded upon the character of God—who He is, who and why He acts, and what He has promised. Our goodness, giving, baptism, church attendance, prayer life, biblical knowledge, moral uprightness is so flawed that we dare not attempt to come to God on it alone. As it is will prayer, so it is with salvation—we come broken and sinful offering God nothing, and by faith asking from Him. On our own we are but spiritual bankrupt. We pray in Jesus’ name, which means that we are calling as a witness Jesus’ character as the greatest moral judge in the world. The Name of Jesus is highest name or thing upon which to pray. And His death and resurrection are the only basis for our being able to come before God at all. The best way to pray is for things that you know are God’s plan because He has already promised them. And I would also argue that everything that we do of any eternal value is based upon this alien righteousness that is given rather than earned. We come in by faith and walk in faith in the shed blood and the righteousness earned by Christ and imputed to us by that faith. And all this is based on the fact that God is an awesome, great, covenant keeping God, especially to those who love Him and keep His commands. For what reason do you expect God to hear you from heaven? The more that your prayer is based upon Him, not you, the more pleasing it is to Him.
B. Prioritized confession and repentance (v. 5-11)
1. After the declaration of the basis for his prayer, Daniel began to confess sin. Several things to note. The first word he uses is “we.” And over and over through this prayer Daniel speaks in corporate language. He lumps himself in with all of Israel and he speaks of their sin. Daniel also speaks of their sin in a comprehensive way. They didn’t just sin a little…just about every word for “sin” is used; just about every word for “God’s Word” is used as well. Daniel understood the depth of sin. And their sin was willful and rebellious, hearing all the words of the prophets, and doing otherwise. Daniel also agreed with God about their current situation being a result of their sin (v. 11-13); even saying that God said it would be that way. The scripture Daniel has been reading has been cemented in his mind. And Daniel also notes in v. 13 that they have not prayed and turned (repented) like Jeremiah said they would. The implication is that this prayer is the beginning of that repentance.