Daniel 2:13-21, 26-28a
First Baptist Church, Wrens
It’s time to pray
Scripture says King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream, but it faded from him. I’m sure we’ve all had that experience ourselves. We realize we dreamed the night before, but are unable to recall exactly what it was all about.
The king was perplexed and called all his wise men before him and demanded they tell him what his dream was and interpret it for him. He was so persistent that he said that if they could not tell him his dream they would all die. Being unable to do so, the magicians and astrologers were facing death, and that included Daniel and his friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. Daniel knew their deliverance was in the hands of God and it was time to pray fervently.
Daniel had such a good standing with the king that he was able to go to him and discuss the situation. There was no panic. No demanding. He approached the king in humility and requested he be allowed some time to discern the dream, telling the king he would tell him the meaning.
Daniel had already proved himself with the king and was granted that time. Even though prayer is not mentioned in the passage, it is clear Daniel and his three companions were asking God for the solution and we find out that God did, indeed, give him the answer he was seeking so the king would know his dream and spare them.
When troubling times come, people automatically look beyond themselves and seek an answer they don’t have. Christians have a spiritual reflex that sends them to prayer. They ask God to protect them. They ask Him to heal them and to care for their families. They come before Him to seek the salvation of another. The secret to answered prayer is that it is prayed within God’s Will; that it is not for something the one praying desires in a selfish way and it ultimately glorifies God. God hears such prayers.
Christians are God’s children and He is intently listening when we petition Him. Consistent prayer is an absolute necessity for a life which pleases God and the story of Daniel proves He hears and acts in our behalf. Daniel was wise enough to see it was time to pray.
It’s time to pray persistently
In the New Testament, Jesus tells us in Luke 18:1-8 that persistence in prayer pays off. We should not pray carelessly as if God owes us an answer. Most people pray this way even though they might not plan to do so. Too many people pray repetitive prayers that, as some have said, don’t reach the ceiling, much less heaven.
When troubling times come, people automatically look beyond themselves and seek an answer they don’t have.
The God of this universe has given us the privilege of speaking directly to Him and we should not take it for granted. God desires for us to talk to Him. He wants to bless His children but He might not answer just as we have prayed. I’m certain that some of the prayers we pray would not be good for us if God gave us what we asked for. We don’t know the whole of life or how things fit together, but He does.
Sometimes our desires, if granted, would be destructive so God does not act. God wants to give us more than we ask for. It will be interesting to discover when we get to heaven how many things God wanted to bless us with that we never trusted Him for.
Daniel and his friends knew the stakes. They knew death awaited them unless God answered their prayer concerning the revealing of the dream to the king. They prayed specifically. They prayed intently. They prayed persistently and consistently. They relied on God in pure faith in Him, and God did not disappoint them.
He revealed the king’s dream to Daniel in a night vision, or a dream of his own. We must realize that God knew in advance what the situation was. He knew in advance what Daniel and his companions were going to ask, but He waited until they demonstrated trust in Him before He answered. They didn’t get an answer because they did everything right. They got God’s answer because they relied on Him in faith and demonstrated their total trust and reliance upon Him. He proved Himself to them through the answering of their fervent and persistent prayer.
It’s time to praise Him
God’s people should always be sure that they praise God and give Him the credit for anything He does for us. In verse 28a, Daniel tells the king, “[T]here is a God in Heaven who revealeth secrets and maketh know to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days.” Daniel did not take one ounce of credit for telling the king the content of his dream. He knew where his blessings came from and he was not about to take credit. Daniel in himself could do nothing, but with God everything was possible. When things seemed hopeless, God came through.
God often does this with us. He takes us to the precipice with the next step bringing disaster, but then He carries us through. When we reach a point of desperation and utter dependency, God answers our prayers. He often does this to get man to display his faith in God when nothing else can help.
We should always be aware of God’s blessings in answered prayer and be ready to point to Him as the source. Gratefulness for God’s help should be an automatic response and we should never even let it cross our mind to take any credit for answered prayer. Daniel knew the source of the power which delivered him and the three Hebrew children with him and he boldly told the king that “there is a God in heaven….”
When prayer is answered it is truly Time to Praise Him.