ACKNOWLEDGE: The dictionary observes that ‘aknouen’ (to recognize) + ‘knouleche’ (knowledge)= to recognize knowledge. The English word was coined some 500 years ago. It happens all the time as language adapts to a changing world. This creating of new words is called neologism. For instance, “applepick”= to steal someone’s IPhone; “affluenza”= the negative effects of excessive consumerism; and “locavore”= a person who eats only food produced locally.
The word ‘acknowledge’ was built upon the idea that knowledge stands independent of human design. It is God’s domain. But when a person recognizes certain knowledge as relevant for his or her life, a connection occurs. The human psyche embraces truth.
It takes humility to acknowledge God. He displaces every other god-idea with the truth of His existence. Truth be known, we make ourselves god aside from acknowledging Him.
We left Daniel and his friends on their knees in serious, focused prayer. They had begun what would be an all-nighter. Fasting from sleep, they were pouring out their concerns before the Only One who could help them. Then sometime in the wee hours before dawn God answers. Daniel has a vision. He sees the dream the king had dreamt, and becomes privy to its God-impregnated meaning. In chapter two Daniel records for us the prayer of thanks and acknowledgement that bursts from his lips, “I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king.”
Knowing both the dream and its interpretation is the key to saving Daniel’s life from the king’s wrath. It also saves his friends’ lives and countless other advisors’ lives. It accomplishes God’s mysterious purpose of publishing a prophecy that will take centuries to fulfill. And it writes a segment of the Bible from which people like us, millennia later will learn.
But we will only learn from Daniel’s pattern for prayer if we too acknowledge God’s working, moving Spirit in our lives. Without acknowledgement we will remain blind to the relevance of God to our lives.
Much of our prayers take the shape of requests, whereas acknowledgement expresses itself as praise and thanksgiving. How often do we thank God for His presence in our lives? What percentage of our prayer time is thanks time? Do we become as passionate about thanksgiving as we are about asking God for things? We must begin to understand that acknowledgement of God’s working in our lives is intrinsic to a healthy prayer life.
The pattern for prayer that Daniel models for us teaches us that we need resolve, we need to express awe, and we need to acknowledge God’s working in our lives.
Daniel knew what it meant to have challenges in his life. That didn’t stop him from thanking God for the blessings he did observe. Today, right now is a good time for us to do the same. Thank God for that.