|Theme: A Prayer for Mercy During a Crisis
|Focus on: Daniel and his friends
|Reading Portion(s): Daniel 2
|– Important Background Information
|– Helps you find strength in God
|What this article teaches you
|Crisis demands prayer. There is no use trying to think out answers. In life-threatening situations pray for God’s mercy. He alone has the wisdom that we need for that situation. He will reveal it to us and show us what is to be done to save our lives. For this we need to humble ourselves in prayer before God instead of trusting in our abilities.
Also if we have a small group of friends who can pray along with us, ask them to do so. A combined effort in prayer during crisis shall yield better results. It shall definitely bring God’s mercy to us sooner. Moreover when God answers such prayers He might reveal more than we asked or imagined. And when His children pray for mercy God will not only answer it but also do something more that will change that crisis into a blessing for us.
In the first chapter of the Book of Daniel we are told how Daniel and his three friends entered the king’s service while they were in exile in Babylon. They had trusted God and He gave them knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. Moreover God gave Daniel the ability to understand visions and dreams of all kinds.
During the second year of his reign, King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream which troubled him much so that he could not sleep. He called in all the magicians and everyone he thought could interpret the dream to him. Yet no one could do so because the king could not tell them his dream. And he was demanding that they tell him the dream and also interpret it for him.
The astrologers told the king that there was no man on earth who could do what the king asked. They said that what he asked was too difficult and that only the gods can reveal the king’s dream. The king became angry and ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon. And people were sent to seek Daniel and his friends so that they may also be put to death.
And when Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, reached them, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact. He found out the reason why the king issued such a harsh decree. And when he came to know the reason he simply went in to the king and asked for time to interpret the king’s dream.
Instead of panicking at the death sentence already decreed, what made Daniel go and ask the king for time? Was it because he had confidence in his ability to interpret dreams? Not at all. He simply had confidence in his God. He knew that God answered prayer.
Having got some extended time Daniel returned to his house. He explained to his three friends the urgency of the matter. Daniel urged his friends to plead with God for mercy. He knew that only God could reveal to them the dream and its interpretation. And he also knew that all the four of them would be executed along with the other wise men of Babylon if they could not tell the king the dream and its interpretation!
What a terrible situation to find oneself in! This situation came suddenly upon them and quite unexpectedly too. Daniel did not organize a meeting to discuss possible ways to avoid the death sentence. Instead he urged his friends to pray.
This is a solid example for us to follow. Instead of trying to think out solutions during a crisis, it is best to find out some time to plead with God for mercy. This is absolutely important. An ordinary mortal cannot think in a levelheaded manner during such a crisis. That makes it a futile exercise to try and think out some means of escape out of the danger you are in. Instead resorting to prayer is the best option you have. You needn’t think at all. That becomes God’s burden when you pray.
It is also best to have all concerned, praying. There is no point in trying to be a one-man army during such times. You should certainly make sure that all those who are in danger are called in to pray. The sense of urgency; the cry for mercy; and the longing to see God’s hand in action on their behalf would all be at its peak when people pray together during a crisis.
Daniel and his friends might have definitely set aside every other concern so that they could pray. If people find time for anything else than prayer during a crisis, it can mean either that they are ignorant or they are foolish. A crisis demands that prayer for mercy be the first and foremost priority. It would do us good to follow their excellent example: Get an extension of time with the wisdom God has given you to spend it in urgent prayer!
There is something in the attitude of Daniel that leaves its mark on the reader. God had given knowledge and understanding to Daniel and his three friends of all kinds of literature and learning. Daniel also could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. Yet during this crisis we do not find Daniel trusting in his wisdom or in his ability to interpret dreams. He with great humility instead urges his friends to plead for God’s mercy. It is this humility in him that counted much in God’s eyes when he and his friends prayed.
And during the night God revealed to Daniel the mystery of the dream in a vision. And Daniel praised God for making known to him what they had asked of God. This is the song of praise proclaiming that wisdom and power belong to God. This is the song of praise that extols God for His sovereignty over the kingdoms on earth.
When the king came to understand the meaning of the vision he understood that the God of Daniel is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries. The king also honored Daniel and gave him a high position by making him ruler over the entire province of Babylon. Daniel, when he was thus honored, did not forget his friends who had prayed along with him during the crisis. His request to the king was met with favor and his friends were made administrators over the province of Babylon.
The dream that Daniel interpreted was an unfolding of God’s plan for the future. In it was shown a large statue, enormous and dazzling, which described the four great kingdoms to come in world history. These kingdoms were represented from head to foot in the statue by gold, silver, bronze, iron, and finally iron mixed with baked clay. The worth of these metals told about the nature of power and glory that these kingdoms would enjoy. These kingdoms did come and go and they are now not in power.
But the turning point of the dream comes when Daniel sees a rock that was cut out not by human hands come and strike the statue on its feet of iron and clay, shattering it. This rock which then becomes a huge mountain that filled the whole earth talks clearly about the kingdom that God is going to set up on earth in the last days.
Who would have thought in his wildest dreams that God would use such a crisis in the life of Daniel and his friends to reveal to all His children His great plan of establishing a lasting kingdom on earth. This happened because of their praying for mercy in that time of crisis. Now we can eagerly look forward to the coming and establishment of God’s kingdom on earth!