Ezra 6:10 “… so that they may offer sacrifices pleasing to the God of heaven and pray for the well-being of the king and his sons.”
King Darius didn’t personally know the Lord, but he had heard enough about Him to feel he’d rather have Him on his side. He certainly had plenty of money, so this was no skin off of his nose. He probably considered this a pretty good investment! The story as a whole is a rather delicious one of payback to antisemites. Those who were against the Jews intended to use the machinery of government to block them, but their efforts backfired spectacularly. This verse gives us Darius’ immediate motivation: he wanted prayer to go up for him to the God of heaven. Just about everyone recognizes their need for prayer. That’s why praying for people can be a very powerful tool for evangelism. A head full of theology does very little good in expanding the family of God, but His love expressed through us can do wonders! As has been said, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care, and praying for people in their presence can be a very powerful expression of that. After all, we have the promise of the Holy Spirit’s help in our prayers, (Romans 8:26-27) so it should go without saying that His words through us would be effective in overcoming the devil’s lies. Darius, and for that matter, most of the people around us, had/have no concept of that, but the vast majority of them still welcome prayer.
As I have commented many times before, prayer is as natural to me as breathing, and I have seen my prayers bless people countless times. I open every school class by praying for my students, and I have had many express appreciation. I had the excellent example of one of my seminary professors, Dr. Cal Guy, in that. In a seminary environment people often ask for prayer of various sorts. Dr. Guy would pray immediately, whether in the classroom, walking across campus, or even in a chance encounter in a grocery store. He gained opposition among legalists, but he was powerfully used by God. I too want my prayers to be useful to the One to whom I express them, in blessing those for whom I pray and otherwise accomplishing God’s perfect will.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for how You prompted me to pray, for individuals and for churches, as I drove around this morning to bless Your flock in Omura. Keep me active in prayer at all times, maintaining my communication with You, so that I may be fully responsive for whatever You want me to do, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!