APPLYING THE PATTERN
Daniel finally died. His lifetime of exile ended, not in returning to his beloved homeland of Jerusalem, but in being buried ‘ex-sillium’—away from the soil of his birth. He had maintained his Jewishness, had kept his faith, had been true to his God. But he had died.
History tells us the Jewish return from captivity began in 538 B.C. while Daniel’s life ended around 530 B.C. That means he saw his people heading homeward. The seventy-year captivity of his people would come to an end as he was taking his final shuddering breath. Was this defeat? Was Daniel nothing more than a pawn in an ancient empire’s hand?
I don’t think so. We’ve spent ten days looking at Daniel’s life, and I hope we’ve learned something about Daniel. He was all about God. He lived, breathed, prayed, and experienced life’s ups and downs in relation to God. His relationship with God affected every aspect of his life. Our examination of his life has uncovered nine facets of a life of extensive prayer. There are likely more. But let’s remind ourselves of the nine; each one can be found in further study throughout the pages of Scripture. Other God-followers were challenged to embrace similar endeavors. They are concepts that draw sinful mankind toward a Holy God. They are the beams that support the edifice of prayer.
- RESOLUTION: Resolve to defer to God’s instructions (on purity)
- AWE: Breathtaking appreciation for God’s magnificence and sovereignty
- ACKNOWLEDGMENT: Humility to accept the truth of God’s existence
- TRUST: Active belief in God’s goodness and willingness to bless
- HUMILITY: Trembling before the truths of God’s Word
- STEADFASTNESS: Persevering in prayerful petition (alliteration unintended)
- CONFESSION: Admission of rebellion; repentant reliance upon God’s mercy
- FASTING: Uncommon measures for exceptional situations
- VISION: Insightful prayers powered by divine strength
What a list. The strength exuding from each facet is formidable, maybe even daunting. How do we, stumbling servants in a century of superficiality embody such an inventory of traits? Look at each definition again. Many of them describe acts of submission: to ‘defer’, ‘appreciate God’s sovereignty’, words like ‘humility’, ‘trembling’, and ‘reliance’. While we may tell ourselves we haven’t the fortitude to embody every proactive trait of strength, most of them only require a clear view of God and His ways. Borrowing from an analogy of C.S. Lewis, the grain of the universe leads us to each of these traits. Going against them is what gives us the slivers of ineffectiveness. We must just stop stopping the character growth God’s Spirit is poised to develop in us. “…Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil.1:8)
The pattern is here. Daniel did not design it but he modeled it. It’s a pattern that fits like a glove every God-follower who chooses to push finger by finger into its design. A life of prayer will furnish us with the confidence to say, like another God-follower, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” Men, women and children of prayer, rise to your calling.