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How to Become a Man of Prayer

Daniel was a MAN OF PURPOSE, who was not a victim of his circumstances but was victor over them. He not only purposed in his heart but also chose the noblest purpose for his life, BUT he sought first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness (Matt 6:33). Today's Christian is often a man without a purpose (who is a helpless victim of circumstances and trends), or a man with a worthless purpose (who spends his life seeking the same "empty" things that unsaved men seek). If Daniel was only a man of purpose and not also a MAN OF PRAYER, then his "labours would be in vain" (Psalms 127:1). If so, he would have done many things through his purposeful life and determination but these achievements would not have produced valuable, lasting results. Daniel was such a great man because he was both a man of purpose and a man of prayer. All great men of God are men of prayer. David said "Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice" (Psalms 55:17). "Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly" (James 5:17). Paul repeatedly tells us that he "prayed without ceasing" (Romans 1:9, 1 Thes 1:2, 3, 2 TImothy 1:3).

Let us learn the three factors that made Daniel a great man of prayer. He was:

A Man of Purpose:
Daniel knew that "except the LORD build his house; his labour would be in vain" (Psalms 127: 1). He knew that he was successful because God had blessed him (I Cor 4:7). Therefore, he continued to pray in spite of the king's order to stop (6:4-11). Obviously he had purposed in his heart (1:8) that nothing would ever stop him from praying. He had not only purposed to continue praying but also had purposed not to allow anything to hinder his prayers in any way. Therefore, he continued to kneel in prayer, in the quiet of his chamber, with the windows open toward Jerusalem, three times a day (6: 10). He knew that true prayer was a very demanding spiritual exercise that needed the correct posture, a quiet place and whatever other aid available (eg. an open window). He knew that unless he purposed to set apart his three times a day of prayer, his other responsibilities would "eat into" his prayer time. We cannot be a man of prayer without first being a man of purpose. Let us purpose in our hearts to be faithful in both our private and communal prayers, since Christianity is both a private matter and also a family matter.

A Man of God:
Though Daniel was "prime minister" of a fabulously wealthy empire, he was concerned for God's house though it was hundreds of kilometers away and in ruins during his time. He prayed earnestly for God's sanctuary (v. 17) and people (vs. 19). He was a man of God, not a man of self. When we receive Christ as our Saviour, we are adopted into God's family (Romans 8: 15,16) and become concerned for our new spiritual family. Are you concerned for God's church? Are you concerned for Christians in other churches and countries? Are you concerned that God's name is shamed by weak Christians? Or are you a man of self, who is only concerned for yourself and your things, rather than the glory of God (Mathew 6:9)? We cannot be a true man of prayer without being a man of God.

A Man of Faith:
Daniel's prayer for his people was that God would "cause his face to shine upon them" (9:17). During Daniel's time, God's people were in great need and there were so many things to pray for, eg. faithful priests, new temple-walls, daily needs. But Daniel had faith that God would supply all their need according to his riches in glory (Phil 4:19). He knew that what God's people needed more than anything else was His presence. God's presence is everything that we need. It is not an optional luxury but an absolute necessity. Without God's presence our worship would not be "in spirit" (John 4:24), we will not pray but will say our prayers, we will not have fear of God, the preaching will not change lives, etc. In other words, we will have "a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:5). We will be like Samson without his hair! We must pray for God's presence in all that we do, rather than to pray for things or activities. We must believe that when we have God's presence - everything else is of secondary importance. A man of prayer must pray out for God's face to shine upon His people.

Conclusion:
Like Daniel, let us be men of purpose and men of prayer. Unless we first purpose in our hearts to be men of prayer, we will not be so. A true man of prayer is also a man of God and a man of faith. "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (James 5:16). May God make us men of prayer!