Praying Together in Exile

Devotions

Christians love to tell and retell stories about prayer in hard times: Corrie ten Boom praying in the Nazi concentration camp, Darlene Deibler Rose praying in a Japanese prison camp, Amy Carmichael praying in the spiritual darkness of India. These favorite narratives remind us that God faithfully hears and answers the desperate cries of His children.

Today’s passage is another such story, this time from the inspired Word of God. In it, Daniel and his three friends find themselves in a perilous situation. Separated from their godly families, renamed, educated in pagan culture, and listed on the king’s roster of sorcerers and magicians, these four were continually in danger of being absorbed into the godless practices of Babylon (see Daniel 1). But when Daniel was asked by the king to interpret a dream he hadn’t even heard, his immediate response was clearly countercultural: he organized a prayer meeting. While the king’s so-called wise men demonstrated their ignorance, the Jewish teenagers sought the help of the only wise God.

Perhaps even more remarkable than the teens’ inclination to pray together for help is their immediate response of thanksgiving when God answered them (vv. 19–23). The impatient king was waiting and the life of every wise man—including Daniel—was under a death sentence, but the four young men chose to deal with the most urgent matter first: they prayed together. As strangers in a strange land, they had neither parents nor priests to remind them to develop godly habits, but their sincere faith drew them to communion with their God.

God’s people in exile always find themselves on their knees. This practice sets them apart from the world and draws them near to the God who hears.

Apply the Word

While we might know that our first response to difficulties ought to be prayer, in practice we often do everything else instead. While we know that we ought to receive the Lord’s answers to our prayers with thanksgiving, we sometimes forget. Ask the Lord to help you make intercession and thanksgiving your first response to every situation.

BY Megan Hill

Megan Hill (BA, Grove City College) serves on the editorial board for Christianity Today and is a regular contributor to the Her.meneutics blog and The Gospel Coalition website. She is the author of Praying Together: The Priority and Privilege of Prayer: In Our Homes, Communities, and Churches (Crossway), and she lives in West Springfield, Mass., with her husband and three children.

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