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21 Days of Prayer and Fasting | DAY 17


DAY 17

But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home…[and] prayed…  just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.” Daniel 6:10

PRESS PAUSE: Before you do anything else, take a moment to reflect on and celebrate all the Lord did in you, for you, and spoke to you yesterday.  

READ: Daniel 6:1-28

Have you ever been in a lions’ den? You know, that situation where you feel trapped, with no options and no way out. Maybe you’ve been hurt or betrayed by the people you trusted, and now it’s impossible for you to trust again. Maybe you’ve even questioned whether God is big enough to pull you out of that lions’ den as you look up from the bottom of that pit?

In Daniel 6, the entire nation of Judah was in captivity. These people probably often felt defeated, like there was no hope. But they clung to the hope and the promise of a coming Messiah to save them.  In the midst of this, Daniel, a Judean, is working for King Darius as one of three administrators who assisted the king in ruling the empire. Scripture says that because of Daniel’s great ability, the king made plans to place him over the entire empire. But some of the other rulers became jealous of Daniel’s influence and conspired against him. They begin searching for a fault in Daniel’s service, but can find none, so they set a trap.  They knew Daniel served the God of Israel, which was in direct opposition to what the king had commanded. 

So, the officials convinced the king to issue a decree that for 30 days, the kingdom would be required to pray in Darius’ name alone. And if anyone doesn’t obey this decree, they would be thrown into the lions’ den. I want you to see Daniel’s response in Daniel 6:10. It says: “But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, 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 didn’t put his faith on the back burner. He didn’t pray in secret. The scriptures say that he went to his upstairs, with the windows open, and prayed! He knew the consequence of praying to his God but was willing to do it anyway because Daniel didn’t let anything keep him from spending time with God. 

But, even with this bold showing of his faith and dependance on the Lord, things didn’t magically change just because Daniel had done the right thing. If you know the story, Daniel was still arrested and sentenced to the lions’ den.  When the other, jealous officials saw Daniel praying to God. They rushed to the king to tell him what they had seen. King Darius was deeply troubled by this because he had respected Daniel and all that he had done for the kingdom. He even tried to think of a way to save Daniel, spending the rest of that day trying to get him out of this predicament.  But the officials appeared to the king again and reminded him that no law once it is written could be changed. So King Darius orders Daniel to be thrown into the lions’ den.

It seemed as if the jealous officials had won when the king ordered the stone to be rolled over the mouth of the lion’s den and sealed it with his royal seal. But God was about to do something incredible in this story.  

King Darius spent the night fasting and worrying about Daniel. Early the next morning, he rushed to the lion’s den and found Daniel alive without even a scratch on him. The Lord had shut the mouths of the lions and protected Daniel because he had trusted in God.

Oftentimes we read this story as if it ends there. Daniel is safe, God shows up miraculously to shut the mouths of the lions and then we move on. The good guy wins, right? But I want you to understand the rest of this story.  King Darius issues a new decree. No longer will the people of his kingdom pray in his name. They will pray in the name of the one true God, the God of Daniel. He decrees that everyone throughout his kingdom will tremble with fear and serve the God of Daniel.

An entire kingdom’s history was radically transformed by the faith of one man who had trusted in God. So, what’s the lesson we’re to learn? Today, I want to focus on the phrase used to describe Daniel’s prayer life: “Just as he had always done”.  Daniel didn’t wait for adversity to strike to begin praying to God as if He were a genie who solved all our problems. Daniel had a habit of prayer. No matter the situation he faced, his default response was to go to and trust God in prayer.

Today, what’s your default? How do you respond to life’s circumstances? When things are going great or when things are going horribly wrong? What’s your “just as he had always done”?  When you’re in that lions’ den, is your response to trust God with the outcome, or is it to blame God and wonder where He is in the midst of your circumstance? In what area of your life are you having a hard time trusting God to be faithful? What is that seemingly impossible situation that looks like there’s no way out?  

No matter how bad things may look, there is no situation that God cannot change. God is still the rescuer, the deliverer, the miracle worker that we find in scripture, even (or should I say especially) when circumstances are difficult. You may not see a light at the end of the tunnel yet, but you can trust that the living God is in that den with you. And He alone has the ability to shut the mouths of lions in your life.

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