Reprint from July 2012
We often think of Daniel as a man who had things right. He didn’t have any need for confession, right? Yet, that is exactly what we find him doing in Daniel chapter 9.
Pray Daniel’s prayer
And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments: Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee. O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee. To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him; Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him. And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem. As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth. Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice. And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly. O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us. Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake. O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.
Read through that prayer and let it really sink in. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
Daniel prayed that prayer, you know, the man that they found no fault in. Yet, he prayed and confessed his sin and the sin of his people. He confessed the sin of his ancestors. He made no excuses. He knew that exile in Babylon was deserved and had been warned against by the prophets. He recognized that YHVH is a just God who does what He promises. YHVH told us we would be scattered if we did not obey. But He also promised to bring us back.
Are you willing to pray Daniel’s prayer? Are you ready to take responsibility for your sins, for your parents’ sins, for your grandparents’ sins, etc.? My Mom has been tracing our ancestry, fascinating stuff, and she has been praying this prayer over each of those 688 names she has found. I think that is an incredibly powerful way to confess the sins of our ancestors. Even if you don’t know anyone past your grandparents, you can confess their sins, too.
But that’s crazy! I’m only responsible for my own sins! Yet, we see Daniel confessing sins beyond himself, and YHVH heard his prayer
We need confession, too.
We have plenty to confess. Have we so soon forgotten our lawlessness? Have we forgotten the abominable foods we used to eat? Have we forgotten the pagan worship at Christmas and Easter? Have we forgotten our complete disregard for the precious Sabbath? Have we forgotten our violations of the Niddah laws? Have we forgotten our failure to teach our children all the commands? And our parents ignorantly taught us to do all these things. And their parents taught them. And their parents taught them. It is so easy to look at the Old Testament and judge those Israelites for falling into idol worship, yet we did the exact same thing.
It is not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord GOD; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel.
We, as believers in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, need to pray this prayer. We need to spend some serious time in confession, in weeping over our sins. YHVH will deliver us, but not because we are so great. He will act because of His holy name. He is a God who keeps His promises, even when those promises are made to desperately wicked people.
Let us, as the people of YHVH, spend some time praying Daniel’s prayer. Let us weep over our sin. Let us be ashamed for a time. Let us remember that our fathers sinned, too. And then let us feel the washing of forgiveness and restoration as YHVH gathers His people back to Himself. Praise YHVH!
Have a wonderful day, washed and cleansed as we humbly seek His face in an attitude of confession.