“We do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of your great mercies” Daniel 9:18
Daniel was apparently one of the godliest men of his time and yet as we read through this prayer he repeatedly confesses Israel’s sin and includes himself as one of the offenders. What was it that motivated Daniel to pray at this time and in such a way? The second verse in the chapter has the answer. He had been reviewing God’s prophecy that came through Jeremiah. He understood that he should take it literally. As a result he understood the times in which he lived. Unless we understand biblical prophecy we will not understand the times in which we live and this will restrict our ability to pray in the will of God.
This is very important. God has been pleased to reveal some key future events and if we take His word literally He will give us understanding of the times in which we live. In understanding the times we will be motivated to pray in accordance with the will of God just as Daniel had done.
Daniel didn’t know the exact day or hour or even the process by which Jeremiah’s prophecy would be fulfilled but he did know that God would be faithful to His word. The very test of a prophet is that the word he speaks comes true (Deuteronomy 18:15-22; Jeremiah 28:9) and that principle has not changed. God has revealed some things concerning our times and understanding of them will follow our believing them. Then, like Daniel, we will pray according to the times in which we live in the will of God.
Just as it was in the case of Israel, God’s response will not be in accordance with our faithfulness or righteousness but in accordance with His word and His faithfulness to His word; “for the lord’s sake” (vv 17, 19). Indeed, Daniel’s prayer reminds us that Israel did not deserve any favour but he stood alone before God bearing the sin of the nation as his own as he pleaded for mercy. His prayer was based solely on God’s faithfulness and not at all on the actions of the people of Israel (v 18).
Daniel was just one man before God yet God heard and answered his prayer. We may think that we are just one person so what difference can we make? Be encouraged as you carefully meditate on this prayer of Daniel. One person praying in the will of God makes all the difference. God’s response was not only to do what He had said through Jeremiah but also revealed through Daniel one of the most important pieces of prophecy in the Bible (vv 24-27). How much poorer would our understanding of the book of Revelation be without these few verses?