Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.
Daniel 6:10 (NIV)
Along my life journey as a disciple of Jesus and wayfaring stranger, I’ve learned that the path of the Spirit is one of developing spiritual disciplines that, in turn, birth spiritual rhythms as I press on toward my destination. My daily time in the quiet is like a “filling station” on my life journey. I mean “filling station” metaphorically in the old sense of the world before GPS and cell phones. In those days, stopping at a “filling station” was not only about filling up on energy and provision, but also an opportunity to look at the state map that hung on every filling station’s wall. Wayfarers would stand and stare at the map to check their location and their destination to make sure they were on track. You might ask for directions or advice about the road ahead. You would gauge how far you’d come, and how far you had to go to the next waypoint.
Today’s chapter is another one of the more famous stories within the Great Story. The book of Daniel is filled with them, reminding God’s people that the exile in Babylon was not about God abandoning them, but about God’s faithfulness in the worst of times. It was about learning to trust God in the hardest stretches of life’s road.
The new ruler of Babylon is conned into declaring that, for one month, anyone who prays to any man or deity other than the ruler of Babylon will be thrown into the lions’ den. They did this knowing that Daniel prayed to God multiple times daily, and they guessed that he would not obey the decree just as his friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow to Nebuchadnezzar back in the day.
Daniel’s enemies were correct. I thought it fascinating that after hearing about the decree, Daniel went home to kneel and pray “as he had always done before.” He wasn’t hitting his knees just because of the decree, he was hitting his knees because it’s what he always did, every day, three times a day. He had developed a spiritual discipline that gave birth to the spiritual rhythms of trust, faith, and perseverance. We are not told what Daniel said when they came for him, but I imagine it was a form of the same thing his friends said when threatened with the fiery furnace: “My God will save me, but even if He does not, I will never pray to anyone or anything but the God of Heaven.
Daniel’s faith did not present itself miraculously at the moment he needed it. Each day along his life journey, Daniel disciplined himself to spiritually stop and visit the filling station. Each day, with each stop, Daniel’s faith grew, developed, stretched, and was exercised so that he was fully prepared to trust God when life’s road led in and through the lions’ den.
Filled up with that thought this morning, it’s time for me to pull out of the filling station and head back out on life’s road.
Today’s featured image created with Wonder AI.
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