I Will Pray…
Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray. (Psalm 5:2)
Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. (Psalm 55:17)(David)
Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. (Daniel 6:10)
TWICE THE BIBLE SPEAKS OF PRAYING THREE TIMES A DAY. (Daniel 6:10; Psalm 55:17) The Bible does not mention that Jesus or His disciples, John the Baptist or his disciples, or any of the other prophets prayed three times a day. I wonder if both David and Daniel prayed three times a day out of special needs they were experiencing at the time. The Bible does not say that, but the Bible does catalog turbulent threat around both men.
TROUBLE AND PAIN HAVE DONE MORE TO DRIVE ME TO PRAYER than my “spirituality.” Before I was afflicted, I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. (Psalm 119:67;71)
WHEN I GOT SAVED IN THE FOURTH GRADE, October 1943, Presbyterian preacher Dan Graham gave us an olive-green pocket New Testament with a cloth cover if we would memorize ten verses. It was a standard pocket Testament that was being given to army soldiers going overseas during WW2. I don’t know how he got them, but he had a box of them. I wanted one of those Testaments, so I memorized ten verses in one week and got my olive-green New Testament. My second-grade teacher, Miss Vaughn, had already “branded” her students (including me) with John 3:16 the first semester and John 3:17, the second semester (four-month semesters).
THE PSALMIST SAYS THAT LEARNING GOD'S STATUTES IS SO IMPORTANT that it was worth affliction to cause it to happen in his life. In Psalm 55:17, we find David talking about praying three times a day. It took me a long time to realize it, but I should tell you that I don’t know of any prayer warriors who became prayer warriors apart from a strong dose of the Word of God. Oftentimes, suffering must be added to that. If we can do everything for ourselves and never get in over our heads, we are unlikely to do much walking with God. That is not being judgmental. That is what I have been seeing all my life and I continue to see it today. I’m included in what I have been seeing.
SO, HOW IS IT GOING WITH YOU AND GOD THESE DAYS? Are you walking with Him or are you just sort of mildly religious? Not fussing. Just asking.
DANIEL APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN MORE IN THE HABIT THAN DAVID. It is believed that David wrote Psalm 55:17 during the time his son, Absalom had usurped the kingdom from him. David was leaving Jerusalem with his governing staff to regroup. He was always writing something. He, supposedly, wrote this when he and the people with him were in great danger. A little three-sentence whispered prayer once a day was not enough.
DAVID DECLARED THAT HE WOULD PRAY AND CRY ALOUD. It doesn’t say here that he was in the habit of praying three times a day. But Daniel was already in the habit of praying three times a day. It doesn’t say how long Daniel prayed. We can only surmise. We do know that he prayed on his knees. This seems like a good thing to do if our bodies will permit it. But the thief on the cross prayed effectively without being on his knees. People in hospital beds can pray without being on their knees. I can’t always stay on my knees. My legs cramp and lock up and I have to roll over and smooth out the cramp. But, there’s no substitute for getting on your knees to pray if you can do it.
THE BIBLE DOESN'T SAY WHEN DANIEL PICKED UP THE HABIT of praying three times a day on his knees. Neither the law of Moses or Jewish tradition commanded it or commended it. It was not expected of Jewish boys or young men. Perhaps he began the practice in his teen years when he had been fingered for execution along with all the “wise men” of Babylon. On that occasion, prayer preserved his life and the life of his three friends when Nebuchadnezzar gave the order to execute all his advisers who could not tell him his dreams nor the interpretation of them.
DANIEL DID MORE THAN TO PRAY BRIEFLY THREE TIMES A DAY. On one special occasion, Gabriel came to tell him something: 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) Barnes and Wiersbe believe that Daniel may have begun praying early in the morning and continued until he was interrupted by Gabriel. The occasion of this long prayer is found earlier in the chapter: And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: (Daniel 9:3)
WE DON'T KNOW WHAT TIME HE BEGAN PRAYING, but according to verse 21, he was still praying at the time of the evening sacrifice, which would have been at 3:00 p.m. Daniel was in Babylon, but his mind was in Jerusalem. The angel told Daniel that at the very beginning of his praying, the commandment came forth (from God to the angel) to go tell Daniel. We don’t know if the delay in the command to the angel and the angel touching Daniel was due to the distance the angel had to travel or if he was hindered by demonic forces.
IN THE NEXT CHAPTER, CHAPTER TEN, an angel comes to Daniel after three weeks. His prayer was heard from the beginning, but the angel, Michael, (a different angel) was hindered by the demonic force of Persia. And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling.
Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. (Daniel 10:10-13)
DANIEL HAD RISEN FROM PRISON TO BE AT THE TOP OF THE POLITICAL HEAP that ruled the Babylonian Empire under Nebuchadnezzar. No one wants to even guess how many provinces there were in the Empire. Years ago, somebody was suggesting that maybe there were as many as 120 provinces. But, none of my books or Google locations know how many provinces there were. However many there were, Daniel was at the top of the heap and his three friends were close behind him.
DANIEL HAD ENEMIES WHO WERE AFTER HIM IN ENDLESS SCHEMES AND PLOTS to bring him down. After praying in the morning, Daniel couldn’t wait all day to pray again, so he prayed at noon. At the end of the day, he couldn’t wait until tomorrow to pray again, so he prayed at the end of the day. This is my speculation, but it may not be far off-base.
JESUS AND HIS DISCIPLES PRAYED but they didn’t pray three times a day. When Jesus was under such great pressure that he prayed drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane, it was by far more intense that Daniel’s praying. But it was not three times a day. I’m sure God was pleased with Daniel’s habit of praying three times a day. Two different angels (Gabriel and Michael) told Daniel that he was “greatly beloved.”
IN THE NEW TESTAMENT WE HAVE THIS SHORT, ONE-VERSE INSTRUCTION about extended prayer. Pray without ceasing. (1Thessalonians 5:17) Christians are instructed to: “Pray without ceasing” does not mean we must always be mumbling prayers. The word means “constantly recurring,” not continuously occurring. We are to “keep the receiver off the hook” and be in touch with God so that our praying is part of a long conversation that is not broken. God knows the desires of the heart (Psalm 37:4), and He responds to those desires even when our voice is silent. See Psalm 10:17; Psalm 21:2. (Wiersbe)
JESUS PRAYED: And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. (Mark 1:35) And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles; (Luke 6:12-13)
And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, and said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. (Luke 22:44-46)
THE KING JAMES STUDY BIBLE GIVES THIS EXCELLENT SUMMARY about prayer in the Bible, based on this verse: Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: (Matthew 7:7) This means to keep on asking, seeking and knocking.
“BOTH JESUS (LUKE 18:1) AND PAUL (1TIMOTHY 2:1) emphasized the importance of prayer, noting that people ought always to pray. Prayer includes asking and getting answers from God. But it is more than just asking; it is confession, adoration, thanksgiving, and fellowship with God. By its nature, prayer is talking with God. It is the basis of the successful Christian life, and is so important that not praying is considered a sin (1 Samuel 12:23).
“WHEN WE PRAY, WE SHOULD FOLLOW THE MODEL PRAYER Jesus gave His disciples and address it to our heavenly Father—beginning with adoration, including thanksgiving and confession of sins, making reconciliation with others, praying for our needs and the needs of others, and concluding in Jesus’ name (Matthew 6:9-15; John 14:14) Jesus pointed out that God heard the prayer of a humble publican rather than that of a proud Pharisee (Luke 18:14).
“GOD WILL ANSWER OUR PRAYER WHEN WE OBEY HIM (1John 3:22), confess sin (Psalm 66:18) abide in Christ (John 15:7), ask according to the will of God (1 John 5:14), ask in faith (Mark 11:24), have pure motives (James 4:3) and live peaceably with our mate (1 Peter 3:7). Reference, Genesis 3:8-13; Matthew 7:7 and 1 John 5:14,15.” (King James Study Bible, p. 1425).Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
FEBRUARY 18, 2019 – MONDAY
A.M. Leviticus 26-27 P.M. Mark 2
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
A Good Verse to Memorize:
Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. (Psalm 55:17)
Song for Today:
Every drug store in America is loaded with remedies for digestion and elimination. It’s good to know that help is around the corner if we need it. Let’s help ourselves. Chew your food until it’s an easy-to-swallow paste and swallow without needing to wash it down. If we didn’t drink enough water before eating, we can’t make enough saliva for chewing and swallowing. Drink a glass of water a half-hour before eating. Having to wash our food down indicates it wasn’t chewed well enough. If the drink is ice cold, it will remain in the stomach until its warm enough to leave. Not good.
Eat something raw with every meal. Some raw things will only digest themselves, other things like apples and pineapple will digest themselves plus part of the cooked food. Enzyme capsules taken with cooked food will help digest it. I use enzymes that work in the stomach and another kind that only works beyond the stomach. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Very old adage. It’s probably because raw apples (not cooked) aid digestion and because they are rich in potassium.
My mother often drank a warm cup of water before breakfast. If she needed more than that, she relied on Cascara Sagrada, a favorite herbal laxative of today. Fifty years later Barbara and I attended a health seminar and first thing out of the M.D.’s mouth: “First thing in the morning, drink a glass of water to help flush the toxins out of your blood that have been accumulating all night.” I worked on that until it became a habit. The water will be in your blood in 15 minutes, while you are getting breakfast ready. This will also boost elimination. Ω