Daniel 10:12 Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.”
Sometimes it seems like our prayers get nowhere, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been heard. We needn’t waste our breath on selfish prayers that treat God like an ATM, but if our attitude is like that of Daniel, we can have full assurance that we are heard. Daniel did two things. The first was, rather than demanding, he sought understanding. Telling God what to do isn’t very effective! Sometimes God will let us in on what is really going on, but sometimes He doesn’t. We need to trust Him in either case. The second thing Daniel did was to humble himself consciously before God. In his case that probably meant fasting. That’s not a bad idea for us today, but a lot of people think of fasting as twisting God’s arm to make Him do something. That kind of fasting will just make you hungry! Daniel’s kind of fasting was a declaration that God was his supply, that he could not live on bread alone (Deuteronomy 8:3), but was fully dependent on God. When we have that heart attitude, whether or not we are fasting, our prayers are welcomed before the throne of God. Not many people have an encounter with an angel as a response to their prayers, and that is not what we should be looking for. Our prayers need to be seeking God’s will so that we can line up with it, not for our glory but for His.
I am still in the classroom of prayer, and don’t expect to “graduate” until I am face to face with my Lord. That’s fine with me. I know that my capacity for understanding is limited, and that God will grow me as fast as I can take it. I need to keep watch over my heart attitude to be sure I am following Daniel’s example. Distractions and pride certainly get in the way of an effective prayer life. Setting my heart to understanding means keeping Christ as my first priority in every situation on every level. I’m not 100% in that yet. Humbling myself before Him means remembering that He’s smart and I’m not, and not trying to tell Him how to do things. That doesn’t mean I’m not to make specific requests, because the Bible is clear that we are to ask, but it does mean I must not be presumptive and demanding. I am to remember and teach that this is the prayer posture of a disciple.
Father, it’s quite moving to be praying to You right after You have been teaching me about prayer. Help me keep growing in my prayer life, overcoming the distractions and listening to obey, so that all of Your purposes for me may be fulfilled for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!