Read Daniel 9:1-9
9 In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom – 2 in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.3 So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.
4 I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed:
‘Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.
7 ‘Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame – the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you.8 We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame,Lord, because we have sinned against you. 9 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; 10 we have not obeyed theLord our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets.11 All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you.
‘Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. 12 You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing on us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. 13 Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come on us, yet we have not sought the favour of the Lord our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth.14 The Lord did not hesitate to bring the disaster on us, for the Lord our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him.
15 ‘Now, Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. 16 Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us.
17 ‘Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favour on your desolate sanctuary. 18 Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. 19 Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.’
Daniel gets it. He understands why his people find themselves now in captivity. He understands how long they will be removed from their homeland. He understands how their sin has infected even the people of God. He understands obedience and rebellion. He understands the heart of God. He understands prayer. He understands judgement and mercy.
Daniel cries out to God on behalf of his people. This prayer is a prayer of despair and hope.
Daniel took responsibility for the sins and rebellion of his people, he includes himself in his confession. When you see the state of your city or your country, how do you pray? Where do you start?
The people would be in captivity for 70 years. It is nearly ‘hometime’. The people would return to the land. In the suffering and persecution one thing was still clear, God’s rule and reign would not diminish. How do you live out your allegiance and obedience to your Lord and King in the day to day, comings and goings of life?