“Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.”—Daniel 6:10 (NKJV)
I struggle with something I’m a little ashamed to admit. Sometimes, I have a really hard time praying through adversity. That’s painful to say, especially because I’ve been a follower of Jesus for a few decades. I hope it is not the same for you.
Not so with Daniel. Daniel was a believer, a wise leader, and a target. His mission in life was to serve his God and his king, in that order. He served both well. He had no skeletons in his closet. He was humble, and this kept him moving up the ladder, no matter who was king. His humility, his upward mobility, and his holy habits made him the target of his political and professional rivals.
Daniel’s rivals worked hard to find fault. The one “sin” they sniffed out was Daniel’s habitual conversation with Jehovah God. He made time several times a day to get on his knees while facing Jerusalem, the City of Peace his heart longed for, and stay connected to his God. His opponents, through political maneuvering and manipulation, successfully criminalized prayer to anyone but the king of the Medo-Persian Empire, who had conquered Babylon during Daniel’s time there. Violation of this law carried the death penalty. The violator was thrown to hungry lions.
Even in times of adversity and inconvenience, Daniel courageously lived up to the Hebrew definition of his name, God is my judge, by aligning all of his priorities around it. Daniel learned early in life that you become what you worship. You could watch Daniel live his life and easily list all of the attributes of God that had saturated his character. If the king said, “I need a man that is wise, discerning, intelligent, compassionate, unwavering in his character, and courageous,” the obvious answer was, “Daniel’s your guy.”
If prayer were taken away from you, would you miss it? Or is prayer and worship such a habit in your life that you would do it no matter what? As privileged as Daniel was, from a young age he learned to opt out of all of the material things culture told him were necessities. He knew they were distractions and noise. What Daniel needed was God. What do you need?