By Joanna K. Harris
Joanna Harris is an author and blogger with a tremendous passion for God. The following blog post is an excerpt she provided from her book Grace in Time of Need. You can contact Joanna here. For more on Joanna’s and her ministry, check out here website here. There you can also find links to her other blogs.
To me the most amazing part of this story is not the arrival of the angel, but Daniel’s response to the original crisis. The king gave an order that no one could pray to anyone but him for 30 days. Daniel could have made excuses for himself and stopped praying. He could have given in to the pressure or run away. He could have gotten angry at God. But he didn’t do any of those things.
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 (Dan. 6:10).
I imagine Daniel had been through tough situations before this. He was a Jew living in a foreign country among pagan people. Undoubtedly, he had his share of hardships and suffering. Notice what this verse says though. He went home to pray…just as he had done before. Daniel had a consistent prayer life – he spent time with God regularly. No matter what the pressure, opposition or possible punishment, he did not abandon the habit that kept him in a close fellowship with God.
Daniel’s consistency amazes me! I have no doubt it was the secret to his strong faith and powerful testimony. Joshua 1:8 says, Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. I believe Daniel lived like that, and he was clearly successful in God’s eyes.
So many times when I’m hurting, stressed out, or struggling spiritually, the last thing I feel like doing is reading my Bible or talking to God – but that is exactly what I need to do! Even if all I can do is read one verse and say “God, help me,” at least I’m trying to keep communication open with Him.
Thankfully reading the Bible every morning was such an ingrained habit for me that when my health trial started (in 2004) it wasn’t hard to continue the practice. Although some days I have to force myself to read, God often surprises me by speaking right to me through a certain verse. Even when my attitude isn’t the best, He still honors me when I seek Him. In difficult times, we need Him more desperately than ever. We need the truth from His Word, we need to tell Him what’s in our hearts, and we need to listen for His voice.
If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction (Ps. 119:92). This verse sounds like the author is at home in God’s Word – it’s his delight! Do you take to God’s Word like “a duck to water”? Are you at home there? Do you find prayer a refuge or a burden?
In times of crisis, God’s Word and fellowship with Him through prayer anchor and sustain us. Without them, it’s easy to be overcome by affliction and hard times. God longs for us to be at home in His Word. He wants us to find refuge in praying to Him. We need consistency in these areas, even if we don’t always want it. Praise God, His grace is able to accomplish that in our lives, just as He did in Daniel’s.
God…gives grace to the humble (James 4:6b).