Lord, hear! Lord, forgive! Lord, listen and act! My God, for Your own sake, do not delay, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name.
In this verse, Daniel is rounding off a significant prayer. He is with the exiled remnant of Israel in captivity in Babylon. He is spurred on to pray by reading God’s promise in Jeremiah that their exile would only last 70 years, a timescale that was very close to being up by this stage in Daniel’s life. Daniel prays, in light of that previous divine promise, that God would bring it to completion and do the very thing He said He would: forgive and rescue His people, and return them to their home He had given them.
Quick thought: How often are you spurred on to pray directly because of what you read in the Bible? Is that a habit you are in? Is it a habit you should get into?
Here is the question Daniel answers by the end of this prayer, the one that is familiar to anyone who has been to Re:Hope’s Pre-Service Prayer: “Why should God answer my prayer?”
Daniel homes in on one specific reason. because this people are known as God’s own people, whatever happens to them shows the world a little bit more about what God is like. And there is nothing more significant and life-changing in this world for any human being than seeing God for who He really is.
If people see Christians praying for healing and people are healed, the world will know that God is a god who heals when His people pray for healing – and that God can heal anybody.
If people see broken relationships between Christians being restored, the world will know that God is a god who restores broken relationships – and that God can restore any broken relationship.
If people see Christians forgiving and showing grace to each other because God is at work in them, the world will know that God is a god who forgives and extends grace – and that God can forgive and extend grace to them.
Every time these things happen, God is glorified that little bit more.
So when Daniel prays that God would hear his prayers, forgive His people and act “for [His] own sake”, this is why: if God does something amazing for His people, everyone else will see it, and understand what God is like. It will give Him that little bit more glory.
And it is the same when we pray that God would hear our prayers, forgive our generation, and act in our situations: if He does something amazing for His people, everyone else will see it and understand what God is like. It will give Him that little bit more glory.
In short, pray that God would answer and do something amazing – so that His glory increases.