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Daniel was favored by God and kings. In this chapter he is comforted by the words of another prophet, Jeremiah. Evidently copies of Jeremiah’s prophecies have be circulating among the exiles ever since Baruch penned the last words on the third scroll 20 years earlier. It is now 542 BC: 63 years since Daniel and other exiles were taken in the first deportation. Realizing Jeremiah’s prophecy indicates still another seven years before the promised restoration is to begin, Daniel turns to God in prayer.
Daniel’s response shows that despite his government service to two enemy empires (Persia and Babylon), his loyalty to his homeland never faltered. The remarkable prayer in today’s study expresses well his intimate relationship with God. In fact, God cited Daniel as a sterling example of faith, along with Noah and Job (Ezekiel 14:20).
1. What’s the longest prayer you have ever timed? Who first said prayer with you at night and taught you how to pray? When did prayer become your own conversation with God?
2. What moves Daniel to pray as he does? What clues do Jeremiah 25:1 – 14 and Jeremiah 29:10 – 14 provide?
3. How does Daniel prepare himself for this divine encounter? Who is Daniel speaking for as he prays? What elements of common prayer do you see here?
4. How does each aspect of God prompt a round of Daniel’s confession:
- God is great and awesome?
- God is faithful to His covenant?
- God is righteous in bringing judgment?
- God is merciful and forgiving?
- God is jealous for His Name?
5. Why will God answer his prayer (verses 16 – 19)?
6. What does this prayer say about God’s covenant: Based on grace or works, His character or ours? Conveys love or justice? Forever binding or always able to be renegotiated?
7. Daniel’s study of Scripture drove him to pray a prayer filled with Scripture. How could you use Scripture in your prayers?
8. Judging from the content of your recent prayers, what concerns you most these days?
9. Daniel humbled himself before God in prayer (verse 3). How do you prepare to meet your God? How do you keep from viewing God as a celestial butler?
10. What aspects of God move you to pray? Why? Who do you pray for most frequently? What prayer agenda for you does Daniel chapter 9 suggest? Try it.