The Habit of Prayer

Chapter 15

Theme: The Habit of Prayer
Focus on: Daniel
Reading Portion(s): Daniel 6
– Important Background Information
– Helps you find strength in God
What this article teaches you
When do most people pray? They pray when some crisis comes in their lives. But then they sadly find that their prayers are not reaching anywhere. This is not because God is not merciful nor because He has closed His ears to their prayers. It is simply because they do not know how to pray. One cannot expect a person who has never driven a car to suddenly use it to drive a person to hospital simply because it is an emergency.

Therefore, those who wish to pray during emergencies need to have the habit of prayer in their lives. Then they will be better prepared to plead with God when a crisis comes. They will not pray in despair; but in confidence and hope. For they have made a friendship with God through the habit of prayer. Success in life and answers to prayer belong to such as these.

We are taken to the reign of King Darius in the above-said chapter in the book of Daniel. He had appointed 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, with three administrators over them; one being Daniel. Now Daniel had exceptional qualities which enabled him to distinguish himself as the best among them all. The king therefore thought to put the whole kingdom under his administration.

This made the other administrators and satraps bitter and jealous of Daniel. So they tried to find out some lapse from the part of Daniel in his conduct of government affairs so as to charge him with misgovernment. Because Daniel was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent, they were unable to find charges against him!

So they finally came to the conclusion that they could only trap Daniel using something that had to do with the law of his God. And they went as a group to the king. They told the king that all of them had agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prayed to any god or man in the next thirty days except the king shall be thrown into the lions’ den. They asked the king to issue the decree in such a manner that it cannot be altered. And King Darius put the decree in writing.

It is important to note that Daniel was excluded from the group that met the king with this request since all this was done to trap him. More than this, we have to note the fact that these people might have definitely known about Daniel’s habit of prayer. Otherwise they would not have specifically related the decree to prayer. Again, we do not know why they chose the lions’ den as the place of punishment. Maybe they wanted to make Daniel’s end as horrible as possible.

It is such a great encouragement for us to find that a godly man serving a pagan king cannot be accused of anything else that usually men in such high positions are accused of. They could only hope to catch him guilty in the matter of praying. Even this they could only do after much planning and also after indirectly praising the king through their cleverly-worded request.

Now let us focus our eyes on Daniel. He learns that the decree has been issued. He goes home to his upstairs room. There the windows opened toward Jerusalem; the city of God situated in the land of Judah from where he was taken captive many many years ago. Daniel got down on his knees three times that day and gave thanks to God.

But the important thing was not this at all. It was the fact that this was something he used to do every day. So the Bible records that he prayed this day too as he had done before! This is the key to understand the man Daniel. This was the secret behind his success in life. This was the secret behind his able administration. This was the secret that enabled him to serve different kings of different empires faithfully and efficiently over a great period of time. Kings and empires changed; but Daniel remained in their court and favor because he had the habit of prayer!

This is a secret that we will do well to master. Prayer is not something that we resort to only when a crisis comes. But it is something that should become a habit with us. Daniel prayed three times in a day. He did not break this sacred time of prayer. We can pray any time during the day; but it is also important to set apart and have special times of prayer during the day.

A man who prays only when a crisis comes has learned nothing about prayer. And his prayer during the crisis is not going to be effective. The habit of prayer gets you acquainted with God. It is this familiarity with God that shall help you pray confidently and with assurance that you are heard when you pray during a crisis. It is simply impossible for a man who does not have the habit of prayer to pray when a crisis comes.

Daniel’s habit of prayer also teaches us that no outward circumstance can block the habit of prayer.Daniel knew that he will be caught by the new rule that was passed. But that was not his concern. His chief concern was to keep his appointment with God. What a challenge to us is his habit of prayer!

Daniel was caught praying. It was informed to the king. He had no choice but to put Daniel in the lions’ den. But God closed the mouths of the lions and gave him a miraculous escape from death. During the time of these happenings we find the king very much concerned about Daniel’s well-being. The best moment comes when the king wishes that Daniel will be rescued by God whom he served continually. His hopes were not dashed because Daniel was a man who had the habit of prayer!