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Dare to be a Daniel

10 Although Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he continued to go to his house, which had windows in its upper room open towards Jerusalem, and to get down on his knees three times a day to pray to his God and praise him, just as he had done previously. 11 The conspirators came and found Daniel praying and seeking mercy before his God. 12 Then they approached the king and said concerning the interdict, ‘O king! Did you not sign an interdict, that anyone who prays to anyone, divine or human, within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be thrown into a den of lions?’ — Daniel 6:10-12

The longer I live the more grateful and nostalgic I am for the songs I learned in children’s Sunday school. To this day those children’s songs inspire and challenge me. One of the songs going through my mind today is “Dare to Be a Daniel.” Do you know the song? If you don’t know it, it’s worth learning. (Google “Dare to Be a Daniel,” or ask a Sunday school teacher to teach you.)

The chorus goes like this:

Dare to be a Daniel,
Dare to have a purpose firm!
Dare to stand alone!
Dare to make it known.

Daniel stands head and shoulders above most other mortals. While still a teenager he was taken from his family and hauled off in chains to Babylon. Although he was a Jewish prisoner in a far off land, his character and talents did not go unnoticed. In time Daniel became one of the history’s most powerful and adroit statesmen. Time and again he skillfully made his way through political landmines to serve as “prime minister” in two of history’s greatest empires, the Babylonian and Persian. Although Daniel served four pagan tyrants (Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius the Mede, and Cyrus the Great) he always refused to compromise his faith and principals.

Today, what strikes me about Daniel is that in the midst of all the pressures and demands of being a head of state, he would stop three times a day to pray and praise the Lord God. He had probably learned this as a youth back in Jerusalem, and was committed to three times a day prayer and praise, even at the threat of being tossed into a den of lions.

Michael Novak, in his book, “Belief and Unbelief,” asks whether people do not pray because they do not believe in God, or whether they do not believe in God because they do not pray? Novak’s question gets me to wondering about Daniel’s remarkable faith and his life of consistent, daily prayer. Was it his regular, daily prayer that fueled his fearless faith?

I know that when I pray in the midst of daily activities, I am more aware of the presence of God with me. When I pray, the mundane becomes holy, and I feel I am a co-worker with God in his Kingdom. My God-confidence rises.

But strangely I have yet to find the time to pray. I have always had to make the time. But each time I do, it leaves me wanting for more.

Dare to be a Daniel…! Tim Smith

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