In the past, I was an expert on 9-1-1 prayers. I knew how to call on God in times of emergency.
I need another job!
Bless our finances!
I remember early as a struggling television sportscaster driving on bald tires and praying: Lord, I need new tires!
However, I wonder how much God appreciates these kinds of prayers, especially when we are not connected with Him on any other occasion. It’s like the friend you never hear from until they need something. Do you know someone like that?
I think we can learn from the life of Daniel. He faced an emergency when some of his jealous peers decided to create a scenario that would go against his religious beliefs. Daniel’s job was to supervise the high officers and protect the interests of the King of Persia, Darius. Daniel was so good at the job the King made plans to place him over the entire empire. That did not set well with the envious administrators and high officers who Daniel supervised, so Scripture said they began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling government affairs but they couldn’t find anything. Daniel 6:4 says Daniel was “faithful, always responsible and completely trustworthy.”
So the governmental officials had to make something up to snare this gifted leader and prophet. They talked King Darius into giving orders that if any person prayed to anyone but the king over a thirty-day period they would be thrown into a den of lions.
Daniel was a devout Jew and a praying man—in fact he entered the presence of God three times a day, praying in front of a window that faced Jerusalem. A date with vicious lions would be inevitable for him unless he temporarily ceased praying. (What’s thirty days?)
So did he stop?
After hearing this disturbing news, Daniel went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, and just like always, he gave thanks to God. As an addendum, he threw in a plea for help. The officials who were behind this unfair ruling lurked close by and caught Daniel in the act of prayer. They immediately tattled to the king, who had no choice but to throw Daniel into the lion’s den.
Many of us know the ending. Daniel survived, thanks to the supernatural protection of God, and King Darius ordered the wicked government officers and their families to be thrown into the lion’s den themselves for their role in the deceitful plot. The result was far different from Daniel’s.
What are the lessons?
- Daniel experienced an emergency but he came into it as a disciplined prayer warrior. When faced with this trial, it was business as usual. He first gave thanks, then he prayed. He wasn’t angry about the scenario because he had a relationship with his heavenly Father, he trusted God with the outcome, whatever was decided, but knew God had the ability to rescue him.
- Despite opposition, Daniel did not back down on what he knew to be right. A relationship with God was first and foremost. He would not kneel to anything or anyone else but his Maker. He was living out the first commandment that says, “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3). Sometimes our heavenly Father allows trials to see if we will still trust Him in the midst of that trial. He wants to know that we’ll still choose to follow Him.
- This was not an emergency prayer. Daniel had a relationship with his heavenly Father so this was like sharing about your bad day with your husband or a friend. God knew that Daniel was a regular in His presence, and had been trustworthy and obedient, so the LORD honored Daniel’s faithfulness by rescuing him.
Do you need rescuing? Are you sending out an S.O.S. signal to God right now? Or are you saying, “Dad, it’s good to talk to you again. We had such a great conversation yesterday. Thank you for my many blessings, but I need a little extra help today.”
People are watching to see how we handle emergencies. Because of Daniel’s steadfast faith and this act of God on his behalf, King Darius became a believer in the one true God, and Daniel prospered the rest of his life. And in the good times, I’m sure Daniel continued to praise and pray…per usual.