Is there a Christian person of prayer in the Bible or throughout history that has inspired you in your prayer life?
The Bible is full of people who had vibrant prayer relationships with the Lord. Jesus set the perfect example throughout the New Testament. He would rise before the sun came up (Mark 1:35) and often slip away by himself to pray in the wilderness (Luke 5:15-16). He taught us the fundamentals of prayer in Matthew 6:5-18, including giving us a model prayer to follow. He taught us to be persistent in prayer (Matthew 7:7-11) and showed us how to pray so powerfully, personally, and passionately that He sweated drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:44). I don’t know about you, but even in my most passionate prayers, I’ve never come close to sweating drops of blood. I stop praying long before I reach that point.
— Barbara (@JournalingBee) March 1, 2017
There are many other examples of “pray-ers” in the Bible: Abraham walked with Him, Moses talked to Him like a friend, Elijah had prayers answered throughout his life that are recorded in the Bible, David wrote numerous psalms modeling prayer, and list goes on.
There have also been many great men of prayer who impacted Christianity documented throughout history. Andrew Murray, John Wesley, Charles Spurgeon, Oswald Chambers, and Billy Graham to name a few.
Today, if I had to name a person of prayer that inspires me it would be the prophet Daniel in the Bible. Daniel prayed even through adversity morning, noon and night. Nothing deterred him: threats of punishment or death (remember the Lion’s den) or being in captivity under various rulers. The Bible indicates that Daniel’s prayer life was persistent, earnest, continuous, and a privilege and gift he took very seriously. He was a faithful servant to the Lord and had a close relationship with Him which began even before he was captured and carried to Babylon. And he continued living this way until his death which is estimated to be when he was around 90 years old! What a legacy of prayer he left behind.
In comparison, I fall far short of following Daniel’s example. It is an effort for me to sit before the Lord in prayer even one time a day, much less three. I can be easily distracted and lose my focus over even minor interruptions which means my prayers are often quick and sporadic throughout the day. I rarely take time to “be still” before Him and wait for His answer. At times, I feel I’m praying without expecting Him to answer when I should instead be allowing Him to lead my prayers in the direction they need to go. I need to learn to pray with the knowledge and assurance that He is listening and wait expectantly for Him to answer.
In the book of Daniel, chapter six, we can learn at least five things about Daniel’s prayer life that we would do well to learn:
But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God. Daniel 6:10 (NLT)
- Daniel had a personal relationship with God. This verse tells us he prayed to “his” God, a God that he had built a relationship with through time spent in worship and prayer. Throughout the book of Daniel, we know that he began his prayer regimen prior to his captivity in Babylon and continued with this commitment throughout his life.
Would you say you have a personal relationship with God?
- Daniel was committed to praying. Even after a law had been put in place against praying to God, he did not stray in his commitment to prayer. Even the possibility of being arrested and punished by death did not deter him. His first commitment was to “his” God.
If you were arrested for praying, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
- Daniel prayed each day at a specific time and place. He prayed in secret, but it was not a secret to anyone that he was a man of prayer. He prayed at the same time each day, three times a day.
Do you have a scheduled time set aside to pray each day? Or a specific place where you pray? Would others consider you to be a person of prayer?
- Daniel knelt before the Lord. Kneeling before the Lord isn’t a requirement for prayer, however, this posture does show the reverence and respect one would expect one to show his God. Note: Prayer can take many positions–singing, dancing and with instruments (Psalms, Exodus 15:20); with hands lifted up in prayer (1 Timothy 2:8); standing and shouting (2 Chronicles 20:19; bowing heads in gratitude and worship (Exodus 12:27).
What posture do you take in prayer? Do you kneel? Do you raise your hands in worship? Do you sing His praises?
- Daniel prayed with thanksgiving. He not only prayed with requests for himself, he prayed with thanksgiving. In Daniel 9 we see where he included confession and petitions for his people as the end of their captivity in Babylon was nearing an end.
Do you include petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving for all people in your prayers? (1 Timothy 2:1)
Studying this one verse tells me there are many key areas I can improve on in my own prayer life. Are there any characteristics of Daniel’s prayer life that you need to incorporate into your own?
The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16b (NLT)
Ref: The Battle Plan for Prayer, Chapter 1, by Stephen and Alex Kendrick