Daniel 9:3; The Pursuit of Prayer~ 20220626 ~ Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

06/26_Daniel 09:3; Pursuit of Prayer; Audio available at: http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20220626_dan09_3.mp3

Daniel a Man of Prayer

Daniel was a man of prayer. He was a man who knew his God. His prayers shaped his character. He feared his God more than he feared kings or lions. In fact, when he knew he would be thrown to the lions, he still was able to find things to be thankful for. He prayed three times a day, not because he had to, but because he had to.

Daniel can teach us much about prayer. In chapter 2 we see Daniel encouraging his friends to join him in prayer, seeking mercy from the God of heaven (2:18), and in chapter 6, we see him devoted to prayer, praying three times a day so faithfully and consistently that his enemies could set their clocks by it. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could actually hear him pray? It is one thing to have someone tell you how important it is to pray; it is another thing altogether to listen to them pray. In Daniel chapter 9, we get in on Daniel’ private prayer life. We get to hear him pray. We get a taste of his emotion, his intensity, his passion, his very heart. We get a glimpse of his theology in action; not just what he said he believed, but his worldview, the truths that shaped how he thought and walked and talked and responded. We sense his tenderness, his sensitivity, his vulnerability. His dependency, his neediness, his desperation, his longings.

I want to learn how to pray from Daniel. So I’d like to camp out here in Daniel 9 for a bit, to soak in whatever we can, and as we listen in, to be shaped in our thinking and feeling, to grow in our intimacy with the Father.

I would encourage you as we work through this prayer together over the coming weeks, to take it home and use it as a template for your prayers. There are of course some things that are specific to Daniel’s time and circumstances, but our Lord is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Why Pray?

Today I want to look at the purpose of prayer, or the pursuit of prayer. What are we after in prayer? What do we desire? Why do we pray? Or, to turn the question around, why don’t we pray? Why am I so often prayerless? I think that often I don’t pray because I misunderstand or forget what prayer is pursuing.


I pray when I have a need. I pray when the problem is bigger than me and I can’t fix the situation. I pray because God is able, and God is good, and he invites us to ask him for help in time of need. Those things are all true, and that is a motive for prayer, but if that is my main pursuit in prayer, then when I’m not aware of any need bigger than me, I won’t pray.

Circumstances do drive us to pray. Daniel’s circumstances drove him to pray. He was an Israelite in captivity in a foreign land. His people were displaced from their homeland. His city and the temple of his God lay in ruins. He was reading the prophecy of Jeremiah, that God had decreed 70 years of desolations for Jerusalem, and Daniel became aware of the fact that those 70 years would soon draw to a close.

But we also know from chapter 6 that Daniel was in a habit of prayer. ‘He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously’ (6:10). No doubt Daniel had bad days, when all seemed to be against him, when he was acutely aware of his need, when he felt he might be thrown to the lions, so to speak. But Daniel also had good days, when he sensed the smile of God, he was being who he was created to be, when all seemed right with the world, and even on those good days, ‘He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously’. What was Daniel pursuing in prayer, that caused such consistency in prayer?


Maybe you’re more disciplined than I am, and you keep a list of people and things to pray for. Family, friends, finances, missionaries, the lost, our country, our leaders, our church. Again, these are all good things to pray for, and lists can be helpful. Lists can also be things just to check off, making us feel like we have done our duty; we have passed on our list and reminded God of what he needs to do today. Is this the primary pursuit of prayer?

Meals and Mountains

What about meals? Do you all pray before you eat? I was raised to think that if you ate unblessed unsanctified food, you’d end up with a stomach ache or worse. Meals are a good three times a day reminder to be thankful for all the good things God gives us. And there are spontaneous times of thankfulness too, when I’m hiking in the mountains and see a spectacular view, my heart just overflows with thankfulness to the one who spoke it all into existence. When we receive good things from God we ought to thank him. But again, is that the primary pursuit of prayer?

Solomon’s Prayer

When King Solomon built the temple for the Lord in Jerusalem, he acknowledged in his prayer of dedication in 2 Chronicles 6

2 Chronicles 6:18 “But will God indeed dwell with man on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this house that I have built! 19 Yet have regard to the prayer of your servant and to his plea, O LORD my God, listening to the cry and to the prayer that your servant prays before you, 20 that your eyes may be open day and night toward this house, the place where you have promised to set your name, that you may listen to the prayer that your servant offers toward this place. 21 And listen to the pleas of your servant and of your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. And listen from heaven your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive.

Solomon was the wisest man on earth. He understood that God can’t be contained by a building. He also understood our wayward hearts, and he anticipated that God’s people would not remain faithful to their God. So in verse 36 he prayed:

2 Chronicles 6:36 “If they sin against you— for there is no one who does not sin—and you are angry with them and give them to an enemy, so that they are carried away captive to a land far or near, 37 yet if they turn their heart in the land to which they have been carried captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captivity, saying, ‘We have sinned and have acted perversely and wickedly,’ 38 if they repent with all their mind and with all their heart in the land of their captivity to which they were carried captive, and pray toward their land, which you gave to their fathers, the city that you have chosen and the house that I have built for your name, 39 then hear from heaven your dwelling place their prayer and their pleas, and maintain their cause and forgive your people who have sinned against you

In 2 Chronicles 7 YHWH answered his prayer:

2 Chronicles 7:12 Then the LORD appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. 13 When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, 14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. 16 For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time.

But the Lord goes on to warn:

2 Chronicles 7:19 “But if you turn aside and forsake my statutes and my commandments that I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will pluck you up from my land that I have given you, and this house that I have consecrated for my name, I will cast out of my sight, and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. 21 And at this house, which was exalted, everyone passing by will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land and to this house?’ 22 Then they will say, ‘Because they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods and worshiped them and served them. Therefore he has brought all this disaster on them.’”

God warns against unfaithfulness to him. He warns us not to abandon YHWH our God. He warns us not to lay hold on other gods and worship and serve them. Our God is a jealous God. Do not turn aside from his commandments, the first of which is ‘I am YHWH your God ...you shall have no other Gods before me’ (Ex.20:2-3). God’s invitation is ‘if my people ...humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land’. In humility turn from other gods to seek my face.

Give Him Your Face

Look with me at Daniel’s pursuit in his prayer.

Daniel 9:3 Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. 4 I prayed to the LORD my God and made confession, saying…

Daniel turned his face to the Lord God. Other translations read ‘I set my face unto’ [(KJV) or ‘I gave my attention to’ (NASB). Daniel gave God his face, his undivided attention. He wasn’t looking at his phone, messaging Azariah, scrolling his social media feed. He didn’t have one earbud in. He set all his notifications to ‘do not disturb’ He gave God his face.

We live distracted lives. How often do we ever give anyone our undistracted undivided attention for any period of time? I was taught that it was rude to interrupt another person who was talking, or to barge into a conversation uninvited. But we allow the buzzing in our pocket to interrupt the person in the room. What we are saying is that the notification I received is more important and more urgent and I will allow it to interrupt my conversation with you. There may be times when that is true. But is there anyone more important than the Lord God? Our God is a jealous God. He wants our undivided undistracted attention. Myriad other gods are competing for our attention. He wants our face.

Seeking Him

Daniel says ‘I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him. Daniel wasn’t seeking his gifts, what God could do for him. He wasn’t seeking answers, seeking wisdom, seeking guidance. He was seeking God. He does have requests, but his primary pursuit is not the gift but the Giver. He wants God. Period. He is pursuing the face of God.

Psalm 27:4 One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple. ...8 You have said, “Seek my face. ”My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.”

Put down your lists, set aside your needs, and seek him for him. That is the primary pursuit of prayer.

Moses desired to see the face of God.

Exodus 33:18 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” 19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.”

Moses desired to see the face of God, and he was denied.

John 1:18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.

In Jesus, because of the gospel, we now have the awesome privilege of being in the presence of almighty God, of seeing the face of God.

2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. ... 16 and [he] reconcile[d] us ...to God in one body through the cross... 18 For through him we ...have access in one Spirit to the Father.

Here’s my challenge to you; set aside time this week, maybe just 10 or 15 minutes, eliminate as many distractions as possible, and give God your face. Seek him for him.


2022.06.26 Sermon Notes

Daniel 9:3; The Pursuit of Prayer

What are we pursuing in prayer?

-We pray when we have needs

Philippians 4:6-7

-We make lists of what to pray for

1 Thessalonians 1:2-3

-We give thanks before meals and mountains

Matthew 14:19; Psalm 19:1

Solomon’s prayer and God’s answer:

2 Chronicles 6:18-21, 36-39; 7:12-15, 19-22

-Do not be unfaithful to the LORD your God

Exodus 20:2-3; 34:14

-’Seek my face

2 Chronicles 7:14

Give God your face, your attention

Daniel 9:3

Seek him for him

Psalm 27:4, 8

We have the privilege of access to God through Jesus!

Exodus 33:18-20; John 1:18; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Ephesians 2:13-18


Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org