In today’s sermon text, we study Daniel’s prayer in Daniel 9. It goes well beyond a model for us to follow; yet it is a model prayer that has much to teach us for our prayer life. Other model prayers include the Lord’s Prayer (Mat 6:9-13), Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer (John 17), Paul’s Prayer in Ephesians (Eph 3:14-21) and many of the Psalms. If you notice, biblical prayers contain several of what many believe to be four essential elements: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication (together they make the acronym ACTS, to help you remember them). Three out of four of these can be found in Daniel’s prayer (all except Thanksgiving). Use this model to deepen your own prayer life. Let’s look at these individually…
Adoration: When you pray make much of God: magnify and adore Him. At the same time make little of yourself. In Daniel’s prayer, God is ascribed righteousness, mercy, and forgiveness. Conversely, we are ascribed open shame, sin, and disobedience. In our prayer life we need to remember who God is in contrast to who we are. Adore Father (who gives mercy), Son (who paid for sins) and Holy Spirit (who gives power to live a life pleasing to God) for what each of them have done.
Confession: Not only do we adore and recognize God’s holiness, goodness, and righteousness—not only do we recognize how fallen we are—but we confess our sins to God. This is as much an act of you realizing how you have offended God, as it is you letting God know (He already knows). But you must recognize and confess it, just as a child does with a parent who already knows what the child did wrong.
Thanksgiving: Thank God for whatever He has given you. Even if it’s adversity, financial stress, and poor health, thank Him that He’s given it to you in order to teach you to depend upon Him.
Supplication: Pray that your needs be met. We’re really good at praying this one, so I do not need to elaborate, other than to suggest that you ask God to teach you what it is that you truly need, rather than what you think you need.