The scriptures show us clearly that Daniel was a man of prayer (Dan. 6:10), so it’s no surprise to see him pouring his heart out to God in Daniel chapter 9. Several clues in this chapter teach us what motivated Daniel to pray on this occasion.
Scripture made him pray (Dan. 9:2,11-13). Realizing God’s promises were real and close to fulfillment made him hit his knees. Daniel understood this from his study of the prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 29:10). Recognizing God’s promises ought to drive us toward His throne, too. Christ’s return and the coming judgment should lead us to pray as Paul (2 Thess. 1:3-12) and John (Rev. 22:20) did.
Sin made him pray (Dan. 9:3-6). Daniel mentions Israel was guilty of sin, iniquity, wickedness, and rebellion, as well as rejection of God’s word as given through the prophets. Daniel is praying to beg God for forgiveness. As Christians, our own sin ought to cause us to seek God’s forgiveness too (Matt. 6:12; 1 John 1:9).
Shame made him pray (Dan. 9:7-8). Daniel felt shame because of the blatant sins of the nation. Before the fall of Jerusalem, Jeremiah said the people were not ashamed when they committed abomination (Jer. 6:15). Does that sound familiar in our day? Shame for the sin and abomination around us ought to drive us to prayer for our nation and world (1 Tim. 2:1-2).
Sonship made him pray (Dan. 9:16-19). Daniel begged God to hear the prayer of his servant, on behalf of the city and people who are called by His name. His prayer was heard because he was “greatly beloved” (Dan. 9:23). As Christians, we have the privilege of prayer (Gal. 4:6; Rom. 8:15,26).
For much the same reasons as Daniel, we ought to be prayerful people. God’s promises, our own sins, the shamefulness of rebellion against God, and our status as sons and daughters should lead us to pray!