Summary: Prayer matters because it helps us to rely on God’s mercy. Prayer matters because it helps us to confess sin and ask for mercy. Prayer matters because it helps us to see God for who He is. God. And prayer matters because we honor God when we pray.
Prayer mattered to Daniel. We’re going to take a look at some reasons why this morning and allow Daniel to show us why prayer was such an important part of his life. I’m guessing that if I were to ask folks here this morning if prayer mattered to you I would find it hard to believe that someone would say it doesn’t. No one wants to be the guy who admits in church that prayer isn’t important. But I would like to ask you to think for a moment how important prayer is to you really. If the government made prayer illegal or even worse made it a law that you could only pray to the government would you break that law? In this hypothetical would prayer be important to you? Obviously it’s a hypothetical, maybe you don’t even know for sure, but this scenario actually happened to Daniel. The king made prayer to any god other than to him illegal. But Daniel 6 shares with us that, “he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.” Daniel 6:10
Soren Kierkegaard, one of the most intellectual Christian philosophers of the modern era once said, “If I could prescribe one remedy for all the ills of the modern world, I would prescribe silence. For even if the Word of God were proclaimed in the modern world, no one would hear it; there is too much noise. Therefore create silence.”
Kierkegaard lived a 150 years before IPods, IPads, Smart Phones, DVD or Blueray, Radio or Rock and Roll, and yet he had his finger on the pulse of our modern dilemma. There are so many distractions in our daily life that keep us from prayer. How difficult is it for us to focus on our relationship with God when we are surrounded by so much noise? Daniel is an example of a person who knew not only how to pray, but the power that prayer brings to the life of a person who follows God. For the next few moments let’s look at some reasons for how Daniel, even in the midst of his own distractions and obstacles, still found significant moments to pray. Let’s ask, “Why did prayer matter so much to Daniel?”
Prayer mattered to Daniel because prayer helped him to Honor God
Soon after Daniel and his friends were officially entered into the king’s service as part of a team of advisors the king had a weird dream. When none of his closest advisors could tell him the meaning of a dream he became angry and issued a decree to have all the wise men killed. When the captain of the guard found Daniel and his friends to carry out the Kings wishes, Daniel asks and receives an audience with the King. He asks for more time to decipher the dream. Daniel tells his friends that unless they can interpret the dream they will die with the other advisors and wise men. So what do you think Daniel and his friends do?
They pray and they beg God for mercy and the meaning to the dream and God answers their prayer. Daniel tells us that during the night while these young men were praying for mercy from God, He blessed Daniel with a vision that explained the dream. In response to God’s answer to their prayer Daniel prays, “Praise the name of God forever and ever, for he has all wisdom and power. He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars. He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness, though he is surrounded by light. I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors, for you have given me wisdom and strength. You have told me what we asked of you and revealed to us what the king demanded.” Daniel 2:20-23
Prayer mattered to Daniel because prayer was a vehicle of his praise. Expressions of worship, praise, adoration to God should often be included in our prayers. Such expressions recognize God’s position as Father and the Almighty. They remind s of our position under him as his children. There really is no better way to know God this side of heaven than through prayer and fasting. Jesus taught those who were just learning how to be his followers to pray like this: “Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:9-10
God isn’t playing hide and seek. He isn’t hiding. He wants people to know him. Christianity is a personal and intimate faith. Jesus began this prayer with, “Our Father.” The Aramaic word for “father,” “abba,” literally means “papa.” According to Jesus, God is a loving Father who longs to speak to you as he did to Daniel. And His will and purposes are better than ours for our lives – far better. When these two truths become reality for us, we’ll find it difficult to miss prayer with God. Prayer matters because prayer honors God.