01 July

Preparing for Prayer from the Book of Daniel

by Anne Graham Lotz

Our world is in a mess. Our nation is imploding. But what difference can you and I make? What difference can one person make? You know what we can do? We can pray. Pray in such a way that heaven is moved, and our nation is changed. But if you are like me, you feel like even you can’t do that because your prayers seem hollow and anemic.

The Daniel prayer is a no-holds-barred, go for broke, nothing held back praying until heaven is moved and whatever it is you are praying about is changed or until God answers. It is a not a prayer necessarily that you pray every day. It is a prayer that is born out of desperation, just a heart’s longing, a heart’s cry.

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The Daniel prayer overcomes obstacles. It is one that pushes through until the prayer is answered. And that kind of prayer requires preparation. It would be like an athlete who wants to win a race or win a game and to do so he doesn’t just show up for the race or game thinking he can win. He has spent days, weeks, months, even years in preparation for that moment. The Daniel prayer is one that is unique and requires commitment. And that requires preparation. A good example, of course, is Daniel himself. He prayed that prayer when he was an older man. But he was set up for it by the way he had established a habit of prayer and his commitment to pray that began when he was a young man.

Let me tell you about Daniel, because Daniel I am assuming was maybe fourteen or fifteen years of age, living in the city of Jerusalem, when his nation, Judah, came under God’s judgment. God sent in the Babylonians to attack Jerusalem and in that first attack, Daniel was captured, taken into captivity with about 200 other young men. They were marched 800 miles east and placed in slavery. They were enslaved to King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel’s whole life was radically changed. Everything about his life changed: his culture, his customs, his language, his clothes. Everything changed except one thing—and it was Daniel’s devotion to God. And that devotion we can clearly see in the priorities that he set that affected his decisions and, you know, all the things that he did.

But also we can see it in his prayer life. Prayer was the core of Daniel’s life. It was the center of his life. And Daniel established a strong prayer life. We get a glimpse of it in Daniel 6:10. Daniel is serving under his third emperor. First it was then Babylonian emperor, then Medo-Persian, then the Persian. He was serving under him as prime minister. His enemies hate him. They are very jealous. They want to depose him. And so they come up with a plan that they would have anyone who would pray to any God other than the emperor executed, thrown into the lion’s den. So that is what is going on.

Daniel, knowing all this was going on, in Daniel 6:10, it says, “Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published,” so he knew if he prayed to his God his life was threatened, “he went home to his upstairs room with the windows open towards Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God just as he had done before.” Notice the phrase “just as he had done before.” This was a habit in Daniel’s life. And there are four characteristics of this habit, four characteristics of his preparation to pray through until God answered that I want you and I to pick up on.

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Four Characteristics of Daniel’s Prayer Preparation


The first is that Daniel had a prepared place to pray. He went to his upstairs room. I don’t know—do you have a place that you meet God in prayer? In my place where I meet the Lord I have my materials. I have a Bible that I don’t travel with. I don’t use it for other purposes like going to church. I just have it right there in my prepared place. I have a pen or pencil. I have a notebook where I can write down the results of my Bible reading. And all my materials are right there so when I go to meet the Lord for prayer they are right there.


Daniel also prepared the time. It said he went to that upstairs room three times a day. And can you imagine if he is prime minister, he has a very important position in a world empire, and yet he still made the time to draw aside three times a day. And I’ll confess, I don’t do that. I can’t do that, not in that kind of serious, set-aside prayer. But I do try to meet the Lord at least once a day in set aside time for prayer. And can you do that once a day? And what would be the best time of day for you to set aside?

I decided I wanted to give the Lord an early morning time. But my problem was that I am not an early morning person. So I bought an alarm clock that was so loud when it went off it would just scare me to death and my heart would beat out of my chest so there wasn’t a chance that I would go back to sleep.

An early morning time is not the only time. So I don’t want to put a guilt trip on you. You can meet with the Lord whatever the best time of day is for you. It could be at noon over your lunch hour, or in the afternoon when your children go down for a nap, or maybe the evening is your best time.

The important thing is that you set aside not only a place, but you set aside time where you meet with the Lord every day. It is a habit, meeting him in that place, meeting him at that time. So what time of day would be best for you? Would you set aside that time to meet with the Lord in your set aside place?


Daniel not only prepared a place and time, but he prepared the atmosphere. He threw open the windows towards Jerusalem. And Jerusalem was 800 miles away but what it tells me about Daniel is that he had a longing in his heart for home. He never stopped missing home, wanting to go home, wishing he could go home. But I think it also meant that he was focusing on the Lord God of his fathers, the living God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the midst of a pagan culture with everybody saying they had their own gods. Daniel was focused in prayer on the one, true living God.

But Daniel created that atmosphere when he threw open his windows towards Jerusalem, reminding himself of the person to whom he was praying and his longing for home, that one day he would go to his heavenly home.

And we throw open the windows of our heart towards home, to try to have a heavenly perspective. This life is not all there is and I want to try to see things from God’s perspective and from an eternal viewpoint because it changes very often, the way we look at our day when we throw open the windows of our heart towards home and look towards heaven knowing that we are going home one day. We are just pilgrims passing through.

For you and me, for myself, I want to throw open the windows of my heart towards home also and when I pray know that this life is not all there is. I am going home. I want my life to be in step with what eternal values would dictate. I want to remember that I am just a pilgrim passing through. At the same time, I want to focus on who God is, that he is the Creator, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and I want to stay focused on who God is. So I want to create an atmosphere where I remember to whom I am speaking. And at the same time, you know, look at it from an eternal perspective.


Daniel prepared an atmosphere, and lastly he prepared his attitude. Daniel got down on his knees. When was the last time you prayed on your knees? Have you ever prayed on your knees? Try it. You will see the difference it makes in your attitude. There is something about praying on your knees. It is not just bowing your knee. It is bowing your heart before God. And it may be hard to do. You know, as I have gotten older it has gotten harder for me because I have a torn meniscus in one knee, I have arthritis in the other so I can’t stay on my knees for long. But I want to bow the knee before God because God is God and we are we. We need to remember the difference. We bow our knee out of worship, and respect, and reverence, and submission to his authority.

So if you say not just that you can’t bow the knee for some physical difficulty but you won’t bow the knee, then you need an attitude check. When we come before God, if we are going to pray the Daniel prayer, we need to prepare our attitude and it needs to be one of worship and submission to the authority of his lordship. So next time you meet the Lord in prayer, just get down on your knees and see the difference it makes in your attitude. So would you prepare an attitude, an attitude of thanksgiving, an attitude of worship? Would you make the time to prepare for the Daniel prayer, a commitment to pray until heaven is moved, and nations are changed? And to make that commitment, you must be prepared. So right now, this day, would you prepare a place, and prepare a time, and prepare the atmosphere, and prepare your attitude? Would you choose to pray as Daniel prayed?

Watch a full session of The Daniel Prayer:

Called “the best preacher in the family” by her late father, Billy Graham, Anne Graham Lotz speaks around the globe with the wisdom and authority of years spent studying God’s Word.

The New York Times named Anne one of the five most influential evangelists of her generation. Her Just Give Me Jesus revivals have been held in more than thirty cities in twelve different countries, to hundreds of thousands of attendees.

Anne is a bestselling and award-winning author of twenty-one books. She is the President of AnGeL Ministries in Raleigh, North Carolina, and previously served as Chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force.

Whether contributing opinion pieces to a national newspaper or a groundbreaking speaker on platforms throughout the world, Anne’s aim is clear – to bring revival to the hearts of God’s people.  And her message is consistent – calling people into a personal relationship with God through His Word.

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