This month many of us in the United States will be participating in the National Day of Prayer, in which we are challenged to pray for our country. Regardless of where we live in the world, we all need to pray for our nation, and we are assured that God’s blessing is conditioned on our prayers. But do you and I really know how and what to pray?
When I lack words in prayer or thoughts about how to pray, I often turn to Scripture and use the words or patterns I find in the prayers of others. One prayer I have used in praying for my country is the one the prophet Daniel prayed long ago for his nation. Daniel was about 90 years old and still living in Babylonian captivity when he poured out his heart to God on behalf of his people …
Read Daniel 9:1-23
THE COMPULSION TO PRAY: DANIEL 9:1-2
Compelled by Problems in the World
- Based on the following verses, describe the Babylonians: Genesis 10:8-10; 11:1-9; 2 Kings 24:20-25:7; 25:8-10.
- Understanding that Daniel and his people were held in captivity in Babylon, describe some of the problems they faced.
- What are some of the problems that your nation is facing today?
- Why should problems compel us to pray? See Exodus 3:9-10 and 2 Chronicles 7:13-14.
Compelled by Promises in the Word
- On what was Daniel’s prayer based? How does this apply to your own prayer life? Are your prayers based on your wants–or on God’s Word?
- List the promises Daniel claimed from Jeremiah 25:12 and 29:10-15.
- What are some of the promises that you or I could claim for our own country? Consider 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 as well as other passages you can think of.
- Read Deuteronomy 28. What are some of the promises, commands and warnings to Israel that could also relate to your country?
- What do you learn from Daniel’s example as an old man in Daniel 9:1-3?
- When do you pray for your country?
THE COMMUNICATION IN PRAYER: DANIEL 9:3-19
- Re-read Daniel 9:3. In order “to turn to the Lord,” what do you think Daniel had to turn from? Relate this to Matthew 6:6; Luke 5:16; 6:12; 9:18.
- In Matthew 6:16-18, what word did Jesus use that indicates fasting is not optional for you and me?
- What do you learn from Elijah’s example of prayer in 1 Kings 17:1, 18:42 and in James 5:16-18?
- If fasting is going without something in order to make time to be alone with God in prayer, how does this help your concentration?
- When do you fast?
- How does Hebrews 11:6 say we are to approach God?
- What phrases from the following verses reveal Daniel’s confidence in God’s character? See Daniel 9:4, 7, 9, 15.
- When you pray, do you expect God to hear and answer? On what basis?
- What other prerequisite for confidence in prayer is mentioned in Hebrews 10:19-23?
- Explain how you know you meet the New Testament prerequisite.
- What basic problem of his people did Daniel address in Daniel 9:5, 8-11? Give specific phrases.
- How did this problem affect their relationship with God, in 9:6-8?
- How did this affect their national security? See 9:12-14.
- How did this affect their relationship with other nations of the world? Read 9:16.
- Apply each of the above four answers to your own country.
- Note the personal pronouns Daniel used in 9:4-16. Are they singular or plural?
- How is this similar to Ezra’s prayer for his people in Ezra 9:6-15?
- From Ezra 9:5, 10:1, and Daniel 9:3, give the phrases that reveal the attitude of the one praying.
- What does this teach you and me about how to pray for our people?
- List the phrases that specify what Daniel is asking God to do in Daniel 9:16-19.
- What fundamental reason does Daniel give God for answering his prayer in verse 19?
- Write out your specific requests for your country, based on Daniel’s prayer.
THE CONFIRMATION OF PRAYER: DANIEL 9:20-23
- How long did it take Daniel to receive confirmation that his prayer had been heard? See verses 20-21.
- Do you think Daniel would have received insight into his people’s national situation had he not prayed? See verses 20-22.
- When was Daniel’s prayer answered? Look at verse 23.
- When did Daniel actually receive the specific answer to his specific requests? See Ezra 1:1-5.
- Do you think Daniel’s people would have been restored to God’s place of blessing if Daniel had not prayed for them? See James 4:2 and Jeremiah 10:21.
- What conclusion can you draw from the above Bible study about the importance of praying for your country?
- Based on your prayers, how likely is it that God will bless your country?
Join with me in prayer: “Father, while we have been pointing our fingers at the sins of others, we feel the intense, fiery gaze of Your holiness directed at us–Your people. We choose now to humbly bow at the foot of the cross, to seek a fresh vision of Who You are, and to pray. Our hearts are broken and contrite because of our own sin and that of our nation. As we specifically confess our sin, we ask that You hear our prayer, forgive our sin, and please, dear God bless our nation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”