DANIEL 6:10: “When Daniel learned that the document had been signed, he went to his house. An upper room in his house had windows that opened in the direction of Jerusalem. Three times each day he got down on his knees and prayed to his God. He had always praised God this way.”
OBSERVATION: Can my prayer change the course of the world? Can one man’s life still make a difference? History is replete with examples of the power of one life to change the course of history. Daniel’s prayer not only changed the course of history, but it also set the stage for the release of the nation of Israel from captivity, and the rebuilding of the Temple.
Yet, prayer is not without cost. To pray, to stand up for righteousness in the midst of an ungodly world is costly. King Darius had signed a decree that threatened to throw anyone who worshipped or prayed to any other god, except himself – into a lion’s den! Several men, who desired to trap Daniel so that he would lose favor and influence with the King, convinced the King to sign this decree. What level of pride and idolatry existed for the King to sign such a decree! When Daniel heard about it, he did not waiver from his commitment to the Lord – he humbled himself before Him in prayer!
What was the result of Daniel’s faithfulness and prayer? He was thrown into the lion’s den, the punishment for disobedience to the decree. When the King was confronted with this, he no doubt realized he had been tricked by these evil schemers. Yet, because of the law of the Medes and the Persians, there was nothing he could do. Anguishing all night to find a loophole, he could not. So, knowing Daniel’s strong faith in God, he exhorted Daniel – “May your God, whom you always worship, save you!””
We all know the end of the story. God intervened, shut the mouths of the lions, and punished the wicked men who tried to orchestrate Daniel’s demise. Yet, Daniel’s deliverance was not the focal point of this encounter. Rather, it was the effect that Daniel’s prayer and obedience had upon King Darius! Facing a sleepless night, King Darius rushed to the mouth of the den, and called out to Daniel before the stone that had been rolled over it.
- “As he came near the den where Daniel was, the king called to Daniel with anguish in his voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God! Was God, whom you always worship, able to save you from the lions?” Daniel said to the king, “Your Majesty, may you live forever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths so that they couldn’t hurt me. He did this because he considered me innocent. Your Majesty, I haven’t committed any crime.” (Daniel 6:20-22 GW)
God had vindicated Daniel, but He also had moved the heart of King Darius. King Darius then proclaimed,
- “I decree that in every part of my kingdom people should tremble with terror in front of Daniel’s God, the living God who continues forever. His kingdom will never be destroyed. His power lasts to the end ⌊of time⌋. He saves, rescues, and does miraculous signs and amazing things in heaven and on earth. He saved Daniel from the lions.” (Daniel 6:26-27 GW)
Daniel once again prospered during the reign of King Darius, and also in the following reign of King Cyrus. It was King Cyrus who allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem, and who both decreed and funded the rebuilding of the Temple of Jaweh!
All of this was set in motion by the prayer and obedience of one man!
Lord, forgive me for the times that I doubt the effectiveness and power of prayer. I know You answer prayer, but sometimes I doubt the difference my prayer can make. Help me to remember that may prayer and obedience can make a huge difference. It can change the course of our nation, or it can change the course of a single life. Either way, my prayer and obedience to Your Word are not in vain.
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much!
In Jesus Name!