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An Earnest Prayer

“‘For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name’” (Daniel 9:18b-19).

Daniel’s faithfulness to God continued throughout his entire life. He was a great prophet and a man who truly loved the Lord. His relationship with God wasn’t something he treated lightly; he spent time in God’s word and took it seriously. Thus, when he read in Jeremiah’s prophecies that the Jews’ exile in Babylon would last for seventy years, he was devastated and immediately began begging God for mercy.

Daniel began his prayer by praising God. He acknowledged that God was faithful, keeping His covenant promises. But then he turned to human failure. He confessed that he and his people had sinned. They had turned away from God’s commandments and pursued their own desires. They deserved God’s judgment, because they had openly turned away from His covenant. Daniel cried, “‘All Israel has transgressed your law and turned aside, refusing to obey your voice’” (9:11a). They had brought this punishment upon themselves, and Daniel praised God because He kept His promises, even the ones about judging the sinner.

Then Daniel turned to supplication. Having confessed his own sins and the sins of his people, he begged God to turn His anger away from them and to restore them to His presence. He pleaded with God to remember His covenant, to see the people called by His own name and show them mercy once again. God’s own name was at stake here. These were His people; how could He let them continue in this exile?

Daniel’s earnest prayer gained him an audience with an angel, who told him in veiled terms what would happen in the future. God loved Daniel, and he valued his prayers. The exile didn’t end early, but God showed Daniel that He hadn’t forgotten His people. He still remembered them, and He showed that by speaking with Daniel.

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