When most people think of Daniel they usually recall the story of Daniel in the Lion's Den. Most of the time this story is taught to children using cartoonish characters and settings like one would see in a Disney movie. However, Daniel 6 contains the record of when Daniel, a historical figure who was captured as a prisoner by King Nebuchadnezzar, was placed in a pit of lions because he refused to stop praying to Almighty God. Thus, there is nothing neither childish nor cartoonish about the account. However, contained within the account of Daniel 6 are biblical principles about how a child of God is to carry himself and interact with the pagan world around him. These principles become more applicable when one understands that the same evil spirit of jealousy, hatred, and corruption that were present in Daniel's life are ever-present in our society.
However, I want to emphasize Daniel 6:10. It reads, "Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before." Notice that Daniel did not start praying when it became illegal to pray. In addition, Daniel did not start praying when times became tough for the child of God. Moreover, Daniel did not start praying when persecution broke out against those who prayed to God. Rather, Daniel prayed "just as he had done before." This means Daniel's behavior of spending time alone with God in prayer was a staple in his relationship with God. This consistent prayer life, this consistent communication with God Almighty, was something Daniel used to remain connected to God rather than a distress call or a good luck charm. Thus, before a child of God encounters a problem in life that only God has the ability to manage, one should already have an active prayer life. Believers should not run to God in prayer only when his or her marriage is falling apart, or when health complications arise, or when there is a test to pass, a financial crisis to face, or persecution to face. Like Daniel, when faced with situations in life, prayer should be a natural overflow because it is a practice done regularly for a believer. A deep, meaningful, and intimate relationship with God is dependent upon connecting with God on a regular basis, not using God as a spare tire when needed.
James Christopher Powell has served as assistant minister in Northwest Florida for ten years.
He studies at The Baptist College of Florida where he is working on a Master's degree in Christians Studies.
He married his wife Jennifer in March 2014.