As we have moved through the book of Daniel, we have seen a number of different things: incredible stories of God’s protection, wild visions that have come both to kings and Daniel. But this past weekend, we came to a passage where Daniel humbly, vulnerably and repentantly prays to God and God graciously responds. In short, we see in Daniel 9 that God graciously responds to honest and repentant prayer.
- A Prayer for a Sinful People: v.1-19
In the first part of Daniel 9, we see Daniel coming to the Lord in prayer. It should be noted that Daniel is reading the Bible, and this is what moves him to prayer. As he prays, he begins by making confession. We can learn some valuable lessons from Daniel about prayer in how he prays here. We make confession to God in a couple of ways. First, we confess God’s greatness and faithfulness. Daniel is quick to ascribe honor, glory, respect and praise to God. Second, we confess our sinfulness and rebellion. As we confess God’s greatness and faithfulness, it exposes our sin. This exposure isn’t meant to shame or embarrass us but to free us from the grip and the bondage of sin. Confession becomes a beautiful gift that God gives to us. Given this, we were encouraged to be vulnerable before God, and to be vulnerable before others. It’s in gospel vulnerability that we find freedom! There’s no point in trying to hide who are from God, He sees right through it! He has always known exactly who you are. Yet, He has chosen to set His love upon us. But not only is there freedom in vulnerability before God, but there’s freedom in being vulnerable before one another. When we are willing to do this, we limit the ways that Satan can use this against us, and live in the freedom of what God has done.
- A Response from a Loving God: v.20-27
In response to this prayer, we have a really intriguing finish to the chapter. God’s response to Daniel is to send an angel to Daniel, to give him understanding and affirm His love for Daniel. God’s response to prayer like Daniel’s is to graciously affirm His love for him. This is true for us as well. It should be noted that God’s affirmation of Daniel here is not in a time where Daniel and the people of God are thriving in their spiritual lives. This affirmation comes on the heels of a prolonged season of rebellion and failure for which Daniel comes to God to repent of. This should be a great comfort to us as well. That God’s gracious response to us is not dependent upon our conduct, but on the finished work of Jesus.
As you set your sights towards Thanksgiving, do so this year with a great appreciation for our God who responds to His people. Be thankful for our God who offers grace, mercy, forgiveness and life. Take some time to celebrate our great God and all that He has done for us.