Pray and Give Thanks

Came across another incredible truth this afternoon in Daniel 6. God’s word records this beginning in verse 7: “‘The king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. 8 Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked.’ 9 Therefore King Darius signed the document and injunction. 10 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.”

The king has signed an ordinance outlawing petition to any other god. When Daniel learns of this, he goes into his upper room (that has windows open toward Jerusalem) and bows before God three times daily giving thanks.

I am encouraged and challenged by this word for two main reasons. First, what an incredible example Daniel sets for the high view of God Christians should have. I often feel so overcome by the fear of man that I’m quick to please others before I desire to please God. This stems from a heart that isn’t fully directed to the ways of God. This was a timely truth to read this afternoon as I am prayerful it will redirect my gaze upon Christ. It’s so easy to cower away from following Christ when the outlook doesn’t look great, but it takes much more faith and perseverance to remain steadfast in following Christ. I pray God grafts us—his children—into a people that desires to trust in the truth of his promises and the comfort of his sovereignty despite the outlook. Secondly, I am incredibly convicted by the phrase “gave thanks before his God” (v.10). How incredible is it that Daniel falls to his knees to give thanks when hearing about the decree condemning his daily actions? I don’t know about you, but anytime I hear bad news or a new and challenging circumstance arises in my life, my first reaction is not to fall to my knees and give thanks. Often times, I am prone to question God’s purposes or to feel a sense of discontentment that God allowed this circumstance into my life. Moreover, I’ll often pray immediately for peace in the midst of it. Very seldom do I simply fall to my knees and express my gratitude toward God. This is why this passage is so convicting. God is worthy of all of our praise. We cannot neglect to praise him when we feel as if things aren’t going our way. The expression of our praise and gratitude toward God is not conditioned to our circumstances. We must discipline ourselves to simply fall on our knees and express the deepest gratitude imaginable to God because he so loves us and desires to care for us.

I pray God’s Spirit would empower us to withstand the temptation to ask God for peace or to question his motives the moment something out of the ordinary arises. I pray that God would begin a fresh work in our lives each and every day so that the love Christ might control us (2 Cor. 5:14) and thereby shape all of our actions, our thoughts, and ultimately our praise to God. I pray this truth would rest heavy on both my own heart and yours, if you are in Christ. And remember, God has sent us his very Spirit, the helper, to aid us in this pursuit (John 14:26).

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