“Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.”
Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.
Daniel was purposeful in prayer – “I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications.” He left nothing out of his prayer life. He used every utility to prayer he could. This is a stamp of effective prayer.
As Daniel saw the end of the seventy years approaching, he prayed to restore the exiled Jews. Jeremiah had challenged his people to pray for that restoration (Je 29:12-14). Daniel prayed that prayer in verses 3-19. Prayer was a means whereby God accomplished His prophetic Word.
The word “prayer” carries the idea of intercession, and “supplications” the idea of entreaty for mercy. The ideas of “fasting, sackcloth and ashes” also portray Daniel’s attitude in prayer. His attitude was more important than his words.
Attitude is important in prayer.
Our attitude is important in prayer: “God, I can only look to you for an answer to my problem. I depend on your grace for everything.” This is not self-effacement or false humility but a reflection of God’s provision.
A specific category of prayer–confession–is the means of getting back into fellowship with God. God does not forgive us by our feeling sorry for sin. That is to take the punishment for sin on ourselves. That also shifts the focus off what Christ did on the cross for our sins. We cannot possibly say to the Lord, “Move over Jesus, I am going to mentally climb up on that cross with you to do some suffering for my sin. What you did was not quite adequate. I will do some suffering myself.” That curses what Christ did on the cross.
Forgiveness comes by naming our sins and recognizing that the suffering that Jesus did on the cross was sufficient to forgive us. God already judged our sins, so we do not have to suffer for them.