One of the things that you notice as you read Daniel chapters 1 through 6 is that there is this growing attractiveness of Daniel's character. You will recall in chapter one we are told the Daniel made a determination to honor God and not to defile himself. From this initial resolve we see a steady development in the story of Daniel.
And I think it's important to not take Daniel’s character for granted because it's here in scripture. It is really striking, perhaps even remarkable, that Daniel's character continues to grow and people's response to it continues to grow as well. This happens for a man who lived a busy life. He was involved in public affairs. Served in government positions. And you know the toll that serving in very public tasks can take on a person. For example, I was reading the other day that Members of Parliament have a higher divorce rate, higher rates of chemical dependency, higher stress rates than almost anybody else in our society. Here's Daniel in public affairs, in that sort of government job, and still three times a day he finds time to pray. I just wonder if Daniel's prayer life is what made a difference in the growth of his character.
Daniel's character is described as one of reliability and trustworthiness (Daniel 6:4), we are told he had an excellent spirit or exceptional qualities (Daniel 6:3), he was focused on his job, gave attention to the tasks assigned (Daniel 6:4), Daniel had integrity (Daniel 6:10), Lastly in Daniel 6:11 we are told had an incredible dependence on God for guidance and help. I believe the development of Daniel's character was in direct connection to his prayer life. Three times a day we are told he opened his windows toward Jerusalem and prayed. Character is rooted in prayer. Daniel's prayer life was deeply devoted and focused on God.
There are five things, that stand out as you look at Daniel's prayer life. Let me just list them for you:
1. His prayer was reverent. we are told he fell on his knees before God.
2. His prayer was a regular habit. For Daniel it was three times a day. Think about that, if I'm honest sometimes setting aside a few minutes once a day is a difficult thing for me. How about you? Prayer is not about the number of times, or the length of our prayers, it is about connecting with God and finding moments, regular moments to be present to God.
3. Daniel's prayer was full Thanksgiving.
4. Prayer was a priority for Daniel, he didn't seem to mind who know it didn't seem to matter how busy was prayer had a top priority in his life.
5. Prayer was a passion for Daniel. He faced Jerusalem, the holy city represented, it stood for, symbolized God's presence in the world, God's purpose is for the world, God's promise of deliverance to the world.
Did you notice something about Daniel’s prayer life, it wasn't just a list of “I want this God, and I want that, and this too, but rather, it seems looking at the prayers of Daniel that he was content to spend time with God, time praising him and thanking him, seeking out God's purposes and plans and cooperating with God, surrendering to God's purpose and plans, letting God guide him, and to follow God wherever God would lead him. AA have saying, it seems appropriate here, “let go and let God”, that's what Daniel does.
I wonder is there a lesson in Daniel’s prayer life for us? That the more hungry we are, or passionate we are about knowing God and his presence, purpose, and promise for the world, and certainly for ourselves, the more likely we are to be drawn closer to our creator and grow in our relationship with God and in our relationship with others. Our character grows and develops in time spent in prayer.