Is Prayer Worthwhile?

KEY VERSE: “At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.” —Daniel 9:23

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Daniel 9:3-6, 18-23

AS WE STUDY the life of Daniel, we find his prayer of confession on behalf of the covenanted people of Israel in the 9th chapter. He began it by saying: “I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes.” Including himself, he continued: “We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments.”—Dan. 9:3,5

Daniel acknowledges that God had been steadfast and kept the covenant according to the Divine promise. The people had problems because they sinned by disobeying God’s Law, and failing to listen to those whom God had sent. The whole community, from kings and princes to the ordinary people, is included in the list of persons who “have not hearkened.”—vs. 6

Daniel attests to the fact that the people had been exiled because of their unfaithfulness to God. The “curse … written in the Law of Moses” (vs. 11), is spelled out in Deuteronomy 28:15-46. Daniel clearly points out his realization that they have brought the destruction of Jerusalem and their exile upon themselves as a result of their own disobedience. He then speaks directly to God—the one who had delivered them out of Egypt—and he calls upon him to hearken, forgive, and to act without delay.—vs. 19

While Daniel was praying, the angel Gabriel (Luke 1:19,26; Dan. 8:16; 9:21), came to him to give him ‘understanding’. Gabriel explained that seventy weeks had been decreed so that the six objectives stated in Daniel 9:24 could be fulfilled. The first three goals were: “to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity.” This relates to the need for the putting away of sin. The last three purposes were: “to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.” These words tell of the inauguration of God’s kingdom of justice.

The Bible testifies to the fact that God not only hears our prayers, but answers them as well. God’s responses, however, may not always be what we want to hear. God may be drawing us into a closer relationship in which we must depend more on him, and less on ourselves. Daniel confessed sin, and prayed for forgiveness. What he actually received was a greater understanding of prophecy, because he was “greatly beloved.”—vs. 23

Moreover, this information came to him through an angelic visitation! Likewise, God will bless us if we fervently seek an intimate relationship with him in prayer. Daniel had firsthand experiences with the power of prayer; and it is clear that God hears and responds to our prayers also, for we, too, are ‘greatly beloved’. Let us not lose faith in the power of prayer, knowing that our affairs are overruled by him, and that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”—Rom. 8:28

Dawn Bible Students Association
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