Daniel 9:1-19 might be one of the easiest assignments if you’re planning to preach through Daniel. It records Daniel’s lengthy prayer.
All through this series of blog posts, I’ve been hoping that some of the strategies for preaching through Daniel will help you when you’re preaching through other books that contain similar genres. So, for instance, there are many other prayers recorded in the Old and New Testaments. Here are some things to think through when preaching a prayer.
- What’s the situation that causes the person to pray? In Daniel 9 Daniel has learned “the number of years that…must pass before the end…namely seventy years” (v. 2). Things are going to remain messy or God’s people for quite a while.
- What kind of God are we praying to? Cf. vv. 1-2, 4, 7a, 9a, 12, 14a, 15a for a description of our God. Daniel’s prayer is a great opportunity to teach our congregants a mini-course in Theology Proper.
- What kind of people are we? Quite the opposite. Cf. 3, 5-6, 7b, 8, 9b-11, 13, 14b, 15b. Look closely at how I’ve listed the verse divisions and you’ll see that Daniel’s prayer contrasts God with God’s people. God’s character and our condition prepare us for our petition.
- The only logical thing to ask: “O Lord, hear; O Lord forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake…” (v. 19).
You might ask your congregants how often they need to pray such a prayer. What do you think they’d say?
Another vital question when preaching on any prayer in the Bible is, “Did God answer that prayer?” or “How is it possible that God could answer that prayer?” This accomplishes two things. First, it forces us all to ask ourselves whether we will respond to the Word of God (think about Paul’s prayers and ask whether or not God answered them; it will depend on whether Paul’s readers responded favorably to his teaching). Second, that question inevitably teaches about Christ-crucified, God’s Gift that provides forgiveness. God’s people broke the covenant agreement, but Christ kept it for us as we are spirit-led (cf. Romans 8:1-4).
Anyway, enjoy preaching the easy part of Daniel 9. Next up, the infamous “seventy weeks.” Yikes! We don’t have a prayer!
Preach well for the sake of God’s glory in the church and in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:21).