When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and pleas before his God. Dan. 6:10-11

Dear heavenly Father, I am so drawn to the heart which beat in Daniel’s breast—a heart filled with praise for you, not a preoccupation with his life. He just learned of a decree that anybody praying to any other god or man but King Darius would become lions’ lunch. So what did he do? The same thing he’d been doing for decades inBabylon. The windows are open, his knees are bent, his gaze is set; and even before he asks you for help, he offers you thanks. He’s neither paranoid nor presumptuous, but he’s most definitely at peace.

What freedom, what beauty, what intimacy with you, this aging, beloved servant of yours enjoyed. But why am I surprised? Haven’t you promised, “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green”? (Ps. 92:12-14)

Father, you never demanded that Daniel get on his knees three times a day. You didn’t have to—it was his delight. No government decree could keep him from praying to you, loving you, seeking you, worshiping you. He was much more committed to your eternal glory than to his personal survival. Your grace radically reoriented his life.

Father, I long for much more of Daniel’s peace and praise mark my life—no matter how difficult my circumstances, intense the spiritual warfare, or out of control my world may feel. For even as “the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour”(1 Pet. 5:8), he’s already a defeated foe.

We live in the victorious day Daniel anticipated from afar. Indeed, your beloved Son, “the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed” (Rev. 5:5). Jesus is the Lion with whom I want to be thoroughly preoccupied—without any ultimate concern for any other kind of “lion’s den” into which I might be thrown.

Father, as I get older, please keep me fresh and green and fruitful through the gospel. Fill my heart with your glory and grace, freedom and hope; and use me however you choose, all the remaining days you give me in this, your world. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ magnificent and merciful name.

 

 

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Scotty Smith


Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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