Day 71: The Daily
Our breath prayer for today: As you inhale, whisper, “We will worship You…” As you exhale, whisper, “…all the days of our lives.”
Slowly read aloud the following Scripture passage
So the administrators and satraps went together to the king and said to him, “May King Darius live forever. All the administrators of the kingdom, the prefects, satraps, advisers, and governors have agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an edict that for 30 days, anyone who petitions any god or man except you, the king, will be thrown into the lions’ den. Therefore, Your Majesty, establish the edict and sign the document so that, as a law of the Medes and Persians, it is irrevocable and cannot be changed.” So King Darius signed the document.
When Daniel learned that the document had been signed, he went into his house. The windows in its upper room opened toward Jerusalem, and three times a day he got down on his knees, prayed, and gave thanks to his God, just as he had done before. Then these men went as a group and found Daniel petitioning and imploring his God. So they approached the king and asked about his edict: “Didn’t you sign an edict that for 30 days any man who petitions any god or man except you, the king, will be thrown into the lions’ den?”
The king answered, “As a law of the Medes and Persians, the order stands and is irrevocable.”
Then they replied to the king, “Daniel, one of the Judean exiles, has ignored you, the king, and the edict you signed, for he prays three times a day.” As soon as the king heard this, he was very displeased; he set his mind on rescuing Daniel and made every effort until sundown to deliver him.
Then these men went to the king and said to him, “You as king know it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no edict or ordinance the king establishes can be changed.”
So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den. The king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signet rings of his nobles, so that nothing in regard to Daniel could be changed. Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting. No diversions were brought to him, and he could not sleep.
At the first light of dawn the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. When he reached the den, he cried out in anguish to Daniel. “Daniel, servant of the living God,” the king said, “has your God whom you serve continually been able to rescue you from the lions?”
Then Daniel spoke with the king: “May the king live forever. My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths. They haven’t hurt me, for I was found innocent before Him. Also, I have not committed a crime against you my king.”
The king was overjoyed and gave orders to take Daniel out of the den. So Daniel was taken out of the den, uninjured, for he trusted in his God. (Daniel 6:1-23, NLT)
For further exploration:
Loving Father, we thank You for Jesus. Thank You for working in us; giving us the desire and the power to do what please You. We give You thanks, O Lord, with all our hearts. We will sing Your praises. We bow before Your holy Temple as we worship. We praise Your Name for Your unfailing love and faithfulness, for Your promises are backed by all the honor of Your Name. As soon as we pray, You answer us. You encourage us by giving us strength.
Divine Father, apart from Jesus, the True Vine, we can do nothing. We realize that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. We do not belong to ourselves for You bought us with a high price, so we must honor You with our bodies. As true disciples of Jesus Christ, we will remain faithful to His teachings. We know the truth, and the truth as set us free. We will remain strong and immovable. We understand the impact of our influence on others, therefore we make a decision today to live in such a way that will not cause another believer to stumble and fall. Father, we declare that we listen to Your voice. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we take authority over our minds, wills, and emotions because we are surrounded by a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith. Therefore, we strip off every weight that slows us down; especially the sin that easily trips us up. And we declare that we will run with endurance the race that You have set before us. We will do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the Champion who initiates and perfects our faith.
Holy Spirit, remind us that the Father has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and selfdiscipline. We ask You to guide our lives so that we won’t do what our sinful nature craves. Give us desires that are opposite of what our sinful nature desires so that we can remain faithful to the calling of God on our lives. Show us how to develop an ear to hear You when You speak the Father’s will to us and help us to be quick to obey. Whenever we are in danger of backsliding into our old ways, please help us to remember that we are the salt and light to this world.
Holy Spirit, today I will commit to developing greater spiritual discipline by doing the following (write down the Holy Spirit’s instructions to you):
Precious Father, forgive us of our sins. Forgive us for neglecting and rejecting spiritual discipline in our personal lives. Forgive us for straying away and leaving Your righteousness to follow our own sinfulness. Forgive us for being foolish and prideful. Forgive us for failing to hide Your Word in our hearts on a regular basis to safeguard ourselves from sinning against You. Lord, forgive me for (list any sins that You have committed).
Holy Spirit, remind us of those we need to forgive and help us to be quick to forgive. As for me, Holy Spirit, bring to my remembrance those I need to forgive. (Take a moment and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you names or faces of people that you may need to forgive. As He reveals them say, “I forgive name of person(s).” Now, trust the Lord to heal any wounds in your soul caused by unforgiveness.)
Holy Spirit, help us all not to yield to temptation but deliver us from the evil one.
God, You are honored in Judah. Your Name is great in Israel. Jerusalem is where You live and Mount Zion is Your home. Salvation comes from You, the God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to You forever and ever! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Concepts to Consider
In the reading above from the Book of Daniel we see him praying three times a day, as was his habit and custom to do, in spite of King Darius’ month-long vanity law to only pray to him. These daily times of prayer for Daniel appear to have been typical of ancient Jewish ways of ordering their days in devotion to God. Psalm 55:17 states, “Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and He hears my voice” (ESV). This saying from Psalm 55 seems to be the origin of praying three times a day. David’s Psalm pre-dates Daniel by some 400-500 years and these three prayer times were likely well-established by the time of the Babylonian Exile (598-538 BC).
Further, the command in Deuteronomy 6:7, “to teach [the Torah] to your [children] and speak of [Torah] when you sit in your house, and when you walk on the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up,” is commonly interpreted to mean that not only should one establish regular times of study of Scripture but also regular times of prayer, especially in the morning “when you rise up,” and in the evening “when you lie down.”
Later, we see Jesus “rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark” (Mark 1:35) to pray and spend time with His Father. This devotional practice seems to fit well into established patterns of prayer that arose during the Second Temple Period (516 BC-70 AD). (We will talk more about this tomorrow.)
After Jesus’ ascension we also see in the Gospels and the Book of Acts that His followers continued to pray
and read Scripture in ways that to fit established private, synagogue, and Temple patterns of worship.
Even later, early monastic Christians used Psalm 119:164, “Seven times a day I praise You for Your righteous judgments” to create seven-fold patterns of prayer and praise that became known as “rules” or “regula” that ordered daily life.
The word “regula” is related to the Greek word “kanon,
” which means “trellis” or “guide stick,” “plumb line.” If you’ve ever raised tomatoes you know that you must give the plant a guide–a cage or stake–to grow on, otherwise they will not grow properly nor produce their best fruit. In the same way, without a “regula,” “kanon,” or “rule” in our lives, then things have the potential to “grow wild.” Life should not just simply be “happening” to us. We are made in the Creator God’s image. We have ruling and creative capacity that helps us regulate our lives.
The point here is that since the earliest times the followers of God have developed and followed patterns of prayer, praise, and Scripture study that were designed to help regulate life and to live in harmony with God and His ways.
This week we will not only explore how and why these patterns developed, but we will also endeavor to create our own daily “rule” so that we can begin to practically incorporate the “Christian Best Practices” that we have been learning over the past few weeks into our daily lives.
- Personal Reflection. As you think back on all of the Christian Best Practices or “disciplines” we have explored, which ones have been the most helpful or meaningful for you? Why?
- Kingdom Reflection: Which practices do you believe are the most helpful for building up the Body of Christ as a whole? Which ones have helped you see outside yourself and attend more to God’s action and agenda for His world?
Optional Time of Centering/Soaking:
If possible, take some time, perhaps 5 to 15 minutes, to get into a comfortable position and simply allow the Lord to minister to you at a deep level (Psalm 42:7). Turn off or put down all distractions. Close your eyes. Hold in your thoughts a meaningful word, phrase, or image from the Scripture you read today. Release all other thoughts and concerns into the Presence of the Lord. If your thoughts wander, that’s okay, just gently return to your Scriptural word, phrase, or image. You may want to set a timer.