1These things happened during the first year Darius son of Xerxes was king
over Babylon. He was a descendant of the Medes. 2During Darius’ first year as
king, I, Daniel, was reading the Scriptures. I saw that the LORD told Jeremiah
that Jerusalem would be empty ruins for seventy years.
3Then I turned to the Lord God and prayed and asked him for help. I did not
eat any food. To show my sadness, I put on rough cloth and sat in ashes. 4I
prayed to the LORD my God and told him about all of our sins. I said, “Lord,
you are a great God who causes fear and wonder. You keep your agreement of
love with all who love you and obey your commands.
5“But we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and turned
against you, your commands, and your laws. 6We did not listen to your servants,
the prophets, who spoke for you to our kings, our leaders, our ancestors, and all
the people of the land.
7“Lord, you are good and right, but we are full of shame today—the people of
Judah and Jerusalem, all the people of Israel, those near and far whom you
scattered among many nations because they were not loyal to you. 8LORD, we
are all ashamed. Our kings and leaders and our fathers are ashamed, because we
have sinned against you.
9“But, Lord our God, you show us mercy and forgive us even though we have
turned against you. 10We have not obeyed the LORD our God or the teachings he
gave us through his servants, the prophets. 11All the people of Israel have
disobeyed your teachings and have turned away, refusing to obey you. So you
brought on us the curses and promises of punishment written in the Teachings of
Moses, the servant of God, because we sinned against you.
12“You said these things would happen to us and our leaders, and you made
them happen; you brought on us a great disaster. Nothing has ever been done on
earth like what was done to Jerusalem. 13All this disaster came to us just as it is
written in the Teachings of Moses. But we have not pleaded with the LORD our
God. We have not stopped sinning. We have not paid attention to your truth.
14The LORD was ready to bring the disaster on us, and he did it because the
LORD our God is right in everything he does. But we still did not obey him.
15“Lord our God, you used your power and brought us out of Egypt. Because
of that, your name is known even today. But we have sinned and have done
wrong. 16Lord, you do what is right, but please do not be angry with Jerusalem,
your city on your holy hill. Because of our sins and the evil things done by our
ancestors, people all around insult and make fun of Jerusalem and your people.
17“Now, our God, hear the prayers of your servant. Listen to my prayer for
help, and for your sake do good things for your holy place that is in ruins. 18My
God, pay attention and hear me. Open your eyes and see all the terrible things
that have happened to us. See how our lives have been ruined and what has
happened to the city that is called by your name. We do not ask these things
because we are good; instead, we ask because of your mercy. 19Lord, listen!
Lord, forgive! Lord, hear us and do something! For your sake, don’t wait,
because your city and your people are called by your name.”
20While I was saying these things in my prayer to the LORD, my God,
confessing my sins and the sins of the people of Israel and praying for God’s
holy hill, 21Gabriel came to me. (I had seen him in my last vision.) He came
flying quickly to me about the time of the evening sacrifice, while I was still
praying. 22He taught me and said to me, “Daniel, I have come to give you
wisdom and to help you understand. 23When you first started praying, an answer
was given, and I came to tell you, because God loves you very much. So think
about the message and understand the vision.
24“God has ordered four hundred ninety years for your people and your holy
city for these reasons: to stop people from turning against God; to put an end to
sin; to take away evil; to bring in goodness that continues forever; to bring about
the vision and prophecy; and to appoint a most holy place.
25“Learn and understand these things. A command will come to rebuild
Jerusalem. The time from this command until the appointed leader comes will be
forty-nine years and four hundred thirty-four years. Jerusalem will be rebuilt with
streets and a trench filled with water around it, but it will be built in times of
trouble. 26After the four hundred thirty-four years the appointed leader will be
killed; he will have nothing. The people of the leader who is to come will destroy
the city and the holy place. The end of the city will come like a flood, and war
will continue until the end. God has ordered that place to be completely
destroyed. 27That leader will make firm an agreement with many people for seven
years. He will stop the offerings and sacrifices after three and one-half years. A
destroyer will do terrible things until the ordered end comes to the destroyed
The Holy Bible, New Century Version
While Daniel was in exile, he read Jeremiah 25:11-12 and Jeremiah 29:10. He realized that Israel's seventy-year punishment was almost over. Daniel knew his people had been unfaithful, but he asked God to forgive them. Daniel received another vision about the end times and the fate of Israel.
God answers our prayers and reveals his plan for us when we ask for guidance.
How can we worship in prayer? By first reflecting upon who God is and thanking Him for the things He has revealed about Himself. To worship in prayer is to allow our spirits to feast upon what God has revealed concerning His acts in the distant and recent past, and what He has told us about Himself. Slowly, as we review these things in a spirit of thanksgiving and recognition, we can sense our spirits beginning to expand, to take in the broader reality of God's presence and being. Slowly our consciousness is able to accept the fact that the universe about us is not closed or limited, but is in fact as expansive as the Creator meant for it to be. As we enter into worship we remind ourselves of how great He is.
In the light of God's majesty, we are called to an honesty about ourselves: what we are by contrast. This is the second aspect of prayer: confession. Spiritual discipline calls for a regular acknowledgment of our true nature and the specific acts and attitudes of the recent past that have not been pleasurable to God as He has sought our fellowship and our obedience.
"God be merciful to me a sinner" is an abbreviated version of the prayer of confession. We need the daily humbling experience of being broken before God as we face up to our imperfection, our propensity to seek evil ways. (From Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald)
Fasting reminds us that we are dependent on God. When you need guidance, fast and pray. Whether you fast for part of a day or an entire day, spend the time in prayer and meditation of God's Word.
Prayer -- Genesis 25:21; 2 Chronicles 7:12; Ezra 8:23; Daniel 6:10; Mark 9:29; Philippians 4:6-7.