Prayer for the Captives
“O our God, hear your servant’s prayer! Listen as I plead. For your own sake, Lord, smile again on your desolate sanctuary. O my God, lean down and listen to me. Open your eyes and see our despair. See how your city—the city that bears your name—lies in ruins. We make this plea, not because we deserve help, but because of your mercy. O Lord, hear. O Lord, forgive. O Lord, listen and act!” (17-19a)
Daniel was a righteous man. He did what was right in God’s eyes even when it would have been much easier to do what others were encouraging him to do. He obeyed God in a land and place where it was not the accepted or expected norm. He looked forward to one day returning to his true home.
He lived among people who were not like him at all. They were anything but righteous. Some of them were mean spirited, always looking for a fight! Others were untrustworthy, their word was not their bond. Some spoke about serving God, but they were more concerned about appearance than actual right behavior. They spoke of returning to Israel and rebuilding the Temple, but they were not ready to do it, just yet. They enjoyed the comforts of their adopted homeland. They were captives, indeed. But, now their captivity was of their own choosing.
So, as Daniel prays. He could have prayed something like this: “Lord, they have sinned and done wrong. But, not me. Judge them and bless me!”
Instead, he prays, “Lord, we have sinned and done wrong… we have not listened… we are covered with shame… Now, God, hear our prayers and petitions…” Daniel calls upon God to show mercy and forgive his people!
Here is how we should pray for our Church, our city, our nation. “Lord, we have sinned and done wrong… we have not listened… we are covered with shame… Now, God, hear our prayer and show mercy! Forgive us, today!”Tags: Bob, Church Blog, Pastor Bob, Pastors Blog