Summary: In our series on the prayers of the bible we come to Daniel 9:1-19. Daniel was moved to prayer after reading the prophecy in Jeremiah concerning his nation and the seventy years of captivity. Let's see how Daniel's prayer might apply to us and our nation.
ONE NATION...BACK TO GOD...UNDENIABLE...WITH REPENTANCE AND SALVATION FOR ALL
In our series on prayers in the bible we come to Daniel's prayer in Dan. 9. Daniel was moved to prayer after reading the prophecy in the book of Jeremiah concerning his nation. As you may have figured out, the title of my sermon today is a twist on our pledge of allegiance. When we look at Daniel's prayer and apply it to us and our nation we may walk away with this being our new pledge...to turn America back to God.
1) Serious times call for serious prayers (1-3).
Daniel 9:1-3, "In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom—in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes."
The date of this chapter is thought to be around 538 B.C., a year before the Jews were permitted to return from exile, and sixty-nine years after Daniel had been taken captive in 605 B.C. Daniel was taken in his teen years and now was in his 80’s. Daniel is reading the book of Jeremiah and he comes across 25:11 which said that Judah would “serve the king of Babylon 70 years.” So Daniel does the math and he realizes he's in year 67. And he would be encouraged when he got to
Jer. 29:10-13, "This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."
But instead of jumping up for joy and just focusing on just riding out the storm and waiting for the Lord's deliverance we see Daniel was moved to prayer. But this wasn't his normal, three times a day prayer, this was something else-something deeper-more urgent. We see him combining prayer with fasting (which represents a seriousness and urgency above the norm) as well as sackcloth and ashes (which represents being in mourning).
We will have prayers like this. We have our normal prayer life and then we have special situational prayers; the ones that would involve a more serious or urgent tone. A, 'this is of the utmost importance' type of prayer. So even though his people are soon to be delivered Daniel was heartbroken by the fact that God had to send them to Babylon in the first place. He knew that judgment had come upon his people and even though a deliverance is on the way if his people didn't change their ways they could easily wind up back in trouble again.
It's obvious that Daniel didn't take the state of his nation lightly. He cared deeply about his fellow countrymen. And he also cared that his nation got back to being a godly nation. That should be our concern too. We as a nation have drifted away from God's ways; we've digressed from where we once were. Are we moved for our nation like Daniel is for his? Do we look at the state of America and determine that this is one of those, 'of the utmost importance' situations to pray or fast about?
Let's take a look at Daniel's prayer and see what we can take away from it.
2) It's our fault. (4-11a).
Vs. 4-11a, "I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.
“Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the men of Judah and people of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. O LORD, we and our kings, our princes and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against you.
The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you."