4 I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed:
“Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of lovewith those who love him and keep his commandments, 5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.
7 “Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. 8 We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, Lord, because we have sinned against you. 9 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; 10 we have not obeyed the Lordour God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. 11 All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you.
“Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. 12 You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing on us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. 13 Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come on us, yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. 14 The Lorddid not hesitate to bring the disaster on us, for the Lord our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him.
15 “Now, Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. 16 Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us.
17 “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary.
18 Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.
19 Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”
Praying to God
We are all familiar with the story of Daniel. However, most Christians are just curious about Daniel’s prophecies. They want to know about the great image in Daniel 2, the image with the golden head, silver shoulders, brass abdomen, iron legs, and clay toes. They also want to know about the beasts that emerge from the sea in Daniel 7. All of the young people are interested in these matters. Although many years ago I spent a great deal of time studying these things, I eventually came to appreciate other aspects of the book of Daniel even more. Now I like the book of Daniel because in it I see a man who prayed constantly and contacted the Lord continually (Daniel. 6:10-11; 9:3-4; 10:2-3, 12). According to Daniel 6, Daniel was preeminent among the governors and princes in the kingdom of Darius. The other governors and princes were jealous and plotted against him, seeking to destroy him. When Daniel learned of this, he went to the Lord and prayed. The aim of the conspiracy of the one hundred twenty governors was to shake Daniel’s relationship with God. Nevertheless, Daniel opened his windows toward Jerusalem and prayed three times a day. When Daniel learned from reading the prophecy of Jeremiah that the seventy-year period of exile and captivity was soon to expire, he began to pray (Daniel 9:2-3). Then he received another vision and he prayed continually for three weeks until the answer came (Daniel 10:1-3, 12). Daniel’s prayer life issued out of a holy life. He lived a holy life in the heathen land of Babylon. For example, Daniel refused to eat the king’s food, the food which was first offered to idols and then used to feed the king and his people (Daniel 1:8). Daniel refused that food, and he enjoyed God very much. He enjoyed God as the tree of life.
Daniel is the hero of the biblical Book of Daniel. A noble Jewish youth of Jerusalem, he is taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and serves the king and his successors with loyalty and ability until the time of the Persian conqueror Cyrus, all the while remaining true to the God of Israel. The consensus of modern scholars is that Daniel never existed, and the book is a cryptic allusion to the reign of the 2nd century BCE Greek king Antiochus IV Epiphanes.