God will REVEAL His PLANS to His INTERCESSORS: Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God, yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, "O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision." (Dan. 9:20-23)
Daniel 4:4-19 is one of the best examples of intercessory prayer ever recorded in the Old Testament. In this prayer, Daniel poured out his heart to God in confession of the sins of Israel while proclaiming God as righteous for His fair judgments against His people. In fact, Daniel’s prayer was the result of his study of scripture (v. 1), and was rooted in a covenantal understanding of Jehovah’s relation with His people Israel. When Daniel read the book of Jeremiah (29:10–14; 30:10–24), he understood that the period of exile was nearing an end. This prompted Daniel to intercede in earnest that God would restore Israel back in their Promised Land (vv. 16–19).
During his intercession, Daniel confessed and repented of his own sins and that of his people. In this prayer alone Daniel confessed four times, “We have sinned” (Dan. 9:5, 8, 11, and 15). This intercessory prayer can be compared with the prayers recorded in Nehemiah 9 and Ezra 9. Daniel emphasized his own sinfulness and that of his people in contrast to the righteousness of God as he sincerely asked for God’s forgiveness (see Lam. 1:18).
We can also see that Daniel fasted and prayed for a period of time (v. 3). His prayer is grounded on God’s promises (v. 2) and offered in a spirit of contrition and humility (v. 3). It is a good model of an effective prayer. Although Daniel’s prayer was primarily for God’s forgiveness and the restoration of the Jews to their land, his initial concern was for God’s program for Israel (v. 2) and that caused God to reveal to him an outline of Israel’s future from that point on.
The answer of God to Daniel’s prayer came immediately through the angel Gabriel. It is interesting to note that God dispatched His angel to Daniel at the beginning of his prayer (v. 23), just as God had promised in His Word (Isaiah 30:19; 65:24; compare with Psalms 32:5). While Daniel was still praying, Gabriel, being caused to fly swiftly (Isaiah 6:2; Ezekiel 1:6; Rev. 14:6), reached Daniel about the time of the evening sacrifice. He told him that he was greatly beloved, which was a tremendous tribute coming from God Himself.
God gave Daniel a preview of the future history of the Jewish nation under the figure of seventy weeks. Jerusalem will be rebuilt and the temple will be restored. The long-awaited Messiah will come to earth and die. In the end, God will triumph, and Jerusalem will truly become a holy city. God’s purposes will be accomplished as His kingdom will finally be established on this earth.
Let us be aware that prayer is a sober-minded acknowledgment of our true situation before God and a sincere admission of our need for His divine help in our lives. Let us rise above our shopping-list prayers, and intercede like Daniel today. Let us pray with confidence: "Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Matt. 6:10).
Remember, God will reveal His master plans to those who will intercede for His people. "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:16)