A Life of Prayer by Mark Johnston

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There are few places in Scripture where we are given deeper insight into the anatomy of a life of prayer than in the book of Daniel. The well-known words of the old children's chorus, 'Daniel was a man of prayer...' could not be more apt! This great man who was so greatly used for such a great length of time had a great secret that lay behind his usefulness - it was his prayerfulness. From our first introduction to him as a mere teenager to our last glimpses of him - presumably as an octogenarian - it seems as though he exudes an aura of prayer.

The beauty of this biblical cameo is the fact that it is not given merely to be a portrait in some gallery from the dim and distant past, but as a reminder that in the same way as 'Elijah was a man just like us' (Jas 5.17), so too was Daniel. The prayerfulness that was bound up with his usefulness is recorded both to instruct and inspire us in our own prayer life.

Every Christian obviously needs such instruction and inspiration - especially as we begin to appreciate that living the Christian life means 'going the distance' - but the same is true for those in the Christian ministry in its many and varied forms. If there is such a thing as 'the loneliness of the long-distance runner' in the world of marathon running, so too there is a sense in which we can feel as though the same is true in a life of ongoing service. Those in ministry need to cultivate the art of praying.

Even though it is very tempting to develop our abilities in prayer with our eye on its public face, it is clear from the Bible in general and the life of Daniel in particular that there is another facet of prayer that lies behind what is heard in public: that is our private prayer. If we make that the focus of this brief overview of the prayer life of Daniel, then several things come to light.


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Posted August 12, 2014 @ 7:51 AM by Robert Brady
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