DANIEL 6:10 (part two)
Prepared by John E. Marshall

Daniel 6:10 (Holman) “When Daniel learned that the document had been signed, he went into his house. The windows in its upper room opened toward Jerusalem, and three times a day he got down on his knees, prayed, and gave thanks to his God, just as he had done before.”

I’m glad we weren’t there when Daniel first arrived at his house to pray. We might have tried to discourage him from doing his duty.

On the other hand, I wish we could have been there when Daniel actually began to pray. We would have learned some valuable lessons about prayer.

First, we would have learned we are not too busy to pray. People tend to be very busy. Success in any field requires devotion to the task. Be it music, art, medicine, writing, law, teaching school, factory work, missions, or any other endeavor, the price for success is costly commitment. This means being busy.

But any person too busy to pray and read from the Bible daily is sinning, doing more than God intends them to do. Failure to regularly spend time with God denotes pride, feeling we can do fine without His help.

If hustle and bustle have crowded out personal private prayer time with God, activities need to be trimmed from our schedule. Never be too busy for daily private devotional life.

The busiest professional can have a daily prayer time. Daniel oversaw business of a kingdom, but was never too busy to find time to pray thrice daily.

Daniel had learned prayer makes us better workers. Secular people plead much work to do as an excuse for not maintaining regular devotions. But all who have learned to depend on God plead much work to do as the reason a break from secular tasks is needed.

Prayer does not necessarily decrease the number of difficulties we face at work, but can give us insights, solutions, plus new resolve and courage to face troubles head on. Prayer can improve the quality of our work.

Daniel had learned prayer saves time. Prayer does not rob us of our time; it stretches our time. Martin Luther said, “I have so much to do today that I cannot possibly do it all with less than three hours of prayer.”

This advice applies for work inside as well as outside the home. In chores at home, talk often with God. Ask Him to help us do our household jobs well. Keep a Bible open on a table. Read verses and Christian literature whenever possible. Let our open Bible and daily prayer routine testify to our family.

Are we busy, overloaded, burning the candle at both ends? Spend more time in prayer than ever before. It can make us better workers and save us time.

Second, we would have learned body posture in prayer can be important. Any theory which always disregards body positioning in acts of worship finds no support in the Bible. We Baptists tend to downplay outward form in worship, but sometimes, when form is forfeited, something can be lost in essence, too.

Daniel “got down on his knees.” He worshiped God with spirit, mind, heart, and with his body. He would omit nothing which might express earnestness.

Kneeling, the position of a servant before his master, expresses reverence, humility, and submission. Done in the right spirit, kneeling is an act of worship in itself, a position of yielded surrender. If inward worship is missing, outward position means nothing, but if we inwardly yearn for God, sincerity can be shown in outward posture (head uncovered and bowed, kneeling, eyes closed, etc.).

Kneeling is a practical help. No position better enhances concentration. Our minds tend to wander while praying. Kneeling can reduce distractions.

We quickly admit believers can pray in any position, lying in bed, driving, jogging, walking, working, sitting, or standing, but kneeling has always symbolized something special to God’s people. Daniel kneeled thrice daily.

At the temple dedication, when Solomon finished praying, “he got up from kneeling before the altar” (I Kings 8:54). Jesus, in His most agonizing, intimate time of prayer, kneeled (Luke 22:41).

Stephen, being stoned to death, cried to heaven while on his knees (Acts 7:60). Peter knelt to pray for the resurrection of Dorcas (Acts 9:40). Leaving the Ephesian elders for the last time, Paul knelt to pray (Acts 20:36). He and the Christians at Tyre kneeled on the shore to pray (Acts 21:5).

Body posture in prayer is not always important, but can be. Let’s learn to pray with our spirit, mind, and heart, and when needed, with our body.

Third, we would have learned regular times of prayer help us grow spiritually. Scripture gives no rule as to when or how often we should formally pray. Yet wise indeed is the believer who spends regular times with the Master.

Parents, one of the best gifts we can give our children is to teach them to pray regularly. Good prayer habits will stay with them through life, remaining a source of help. Teens, develop a regular time with God daily. This communing with God will bless your whole life beyond imagination. The safest, surest way to maintain genuine spirituality is to have a regular time daily set aside for God.

A regular daily time of prayer helps us grow spiritually in at least four ways. One, it keeps us close to the power source. Something gave Daniel backbone at every phase of life. His strength sprang from a spirituality that was not the haphazard off-shoot of whims, but a deep seated power source he tapped daily. Spiritual growth does not happen by accident, but is the product of intentionality.

In drought, flowers and shrubs wither before trees do because tree roots dig deeper in the soil. Some believers have flower and shrub religion, beautiful under ideal conditions, but wilted and withered in tough times. We need spiritual trees, people who don’t wait until storms come to deepen their roots, but who do it all the time by daily digging roots deeper to withstand Satan’s blasts.

Two, a regular daily time of prayer keeps us examining ourselves. We often are so used to little success in prayer that we are not disappointed when God rarely grants our supplications. Rather than accept denial as normal, use a daily prayer time to examine ourselves, to ponder why our requests are not being granted.

A regular prayer time lets us take spiritual inventory, and lets God purge us daily. Day by day ask God to do whatever is needed to give us success in prayer.

Three, a regular daily time of prayer keeps us from stumbling into Satan’s no-prayer traps. Wanting us to quit praying, Satan hurls prayer-snares at us. He will attack us even while we’re praying, making our minds idle, causing our thoughts to wander, triggering sinful desires.

The devil urges us to take prayer for granted. If only one location were set aside for prayer, we would flock there at all cost, but since we can pray anywhere, we often take it for granted. If only one person could pray, we would all clamor for their favors, but since we all can pray, we often see it as nothing special.

If we had to buy prayer, we would pay gladly, but since it is free, we often neglect it. Be careful. Prayer is a precious gift deserving regular daily use.

Satan tries to get us to quit praying by making it boring. All believers have days we do not enjoy prayer. Not always sensing God’s presence, we sometimes find prayer dull, cold, lifeless. Only by having a regular prayer time do we learn to commune with God regardless how we feel. Habit makes prayer a matter of faith rather than of fickle feelings.

Thinking sinful thoughts while praying, taking prayer for granted, finding prayer boring ( these excuses are often used for quitting prayer, but are actually reasons we need to have a regular time for prayer daily. These failures in prayer tempt some to quit praying altogether, but should drive us to regular devotion with stronger resolve. Without a regular time set aside for prayer every day, we may let failures discourage us, and eventually quit praying.

Four, a regular daily time of prayer keeps us mindful of God. Three times a day does not tell us how often Daniel prayed, but how often he assumed the posture of prayer. He prayed 300 times a day if necessary. His heart was probably constantly aware of communion with God. The three formal times a day merely safe-guarded and reinforced his continual communion with God.

If we don’t have a regular daily time with God, we eventually find ourselves coming to Him solely in times of need as a beggar, rather than as lover, friend, satisfied servant, happy child. Without regular prayer, our prayers selfishly sink into “me, my four, and no more,” and eventually focus on things rather than on Him. God becomes a means to an end, rather than the end itself.