I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures. . . . So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition. Daniel 9:2–3
A family’s prayer time ended with a surprising announcement one morning. As soon as Dad said, “Amen,” five-year-old Kaitlyn proclaimed, “And I prayed for Logan, because he had his eyes open during prayer.”
I’m pretty sure praying for your ten-year-old brother’s prayer protocol isn’t what Scripture has in mind when it calls us to intercessory prayer, but at least Kaitlyn realized that we can pray for others.
Bible teacher Oswald Chambers emphasized the importance of praying for someone else. He said that “intercession is putting yourself in God’s place; it is having His mind and perspective.” It’s praying for others in light of what we know about God and His love for us.
We find a great example of intercessory prayer in Daniel 9. The prophet understood God’s troubling promise that the Jews would have seventy years of captivity in Babylon (Jeremiah 25:11–12). Realizing that those years were nearing their completion, Daniel went into prayer mode. He referenced God’s commands (Daniel 9:4–6), humbled himself (v. 8), honored His character (v. 9), confessed sin (v. 15), and depended on His mercy as he prayed for His people (v. 18). And he got an immediate answer from God (v. 21).
Not all prayer ends with such a dramatic response, but be encouraged that we can go to God on behalf of others with an attitude of trust and dependence on Him.
When you pray for others, how are you seeking the mind of God? How do you seek His perspective?
Dear heavenly Father, help me to know You better so that when I pray for others, I can filter my requests through my knowledge of Your will.
The prayer in Daniel 9 was written near the end of the Israelites’ seventy years in Babylon. It had been prophesied that after seventy years God would bring His people back to Jerusalem (v. 2; see also Jeremiah 25:11–14; 29:10). To prepare for the return, Daniel “pleaded with [God] in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes” (Daniel 9:3). At the time, praying this way was common in difficult situations (see Esther 4:1–3; Jonah 3:6–9). Daniel’s prayer is now a model for believers in Jesus. He begins by worshiping God for His faithfulness (Daniel 9:4), then he pleads with Him for forgiveness for himself and the nation (vv. 5–7), and finally reminds God of His covenant and asks Him to restore their land (v. 19).