Three characteristics of prayer

Prayer is complex

Jesus gave the Lord’s Prayer as a model in the Sermon on the Mount. Later, in private, the disciples asked him to teach them how to pray and he gave them essentially the same model. (Matthew 6:5-14; Luke 11:1-4)

The night before he died Jesus prayed in the garden. Earlier he prayed for his disciples and for those who would believe through their witness. (John 17)

The Apostle Paul prayed for the churches he planted. Some of these prayers are recorded in his letters.

The book of Psalms contains many different types of prayer. There are prayers that praise God for who he is and there are prayers that praise God for what he has done. There are prayers from anger they are there are prayers from fear.

Prayer is so central in the life of God’s children that there are many models for prayer in the Scriptures.

Daniel’s prayer

One of those models is in Daniel, chapter nine.

Daniel was about 85 years old when he prayed this prayer. He was taken to Babylon as a teenager about 600 years before Jesus was born. He served the kings of Babylon and Persia.

Three Characteristics of Daniel’s Prayer 

1. Daniel’s prayer was based on God’s word. Daniel knew from the writings of Jeremiah that the captivity would last 70 years. He had been there the entire time. Even though he was an old man, he knew that there was a future for the Jews and that they would be restored to the Promised Land. (Daniel 9:1-3; 9:17-19)

2. Daniel’s prayer recognized who God is. God is great and he keeps his promises to unfaithful people. (Daniel 9:4-19)

3. Daniel’s prayer was humble. Daniel’s prayer acknowledged his own faults and the faults of his peers, the ruling class. He also acknowledged the faults of the people in general. He confessed his sin and the sin of his people. They did not deserve God’s grace. (Daniel 9:4-19)

When have your prayers been initiated by your reading of Scripture.

How do you express who God is when you pray?

1 thought on “Three characteristics of prayer”

  1. These observations concerning biblical prayer are very helpful and I find that they all fit nicely into place in the outline provided by Jesus in the Lord’s prayer. Paul’s prayers that call for unity, hope and joy in the face of persecution, so as to attract people to the gospel, is timely as we face goring hostility from the culture concerning our beliefs on homosexuality.

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