Daniel 9:3: “So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes.”
Observation: Daniel used more than thirty phrases in this chapter associating himself with Israel’s sins. Such identification is the perfect picture of the intercessor. In Israel’s behalf, Daniel sought the Lord through prayer and supplication. The idea of the word supplication means to long for God, to so desire His presence that normal methods of communication are completely inadequate. It suggests a groaning from the depths of one’s being for the only thing that will satisfy: to hear from and have fellowship with God Himself. In Daniel’s praying we see this sort of desperation, accompanied by fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.
Application: When was the last time that I so knew my need that my longing for God drove me to fasting, sackcloth, and ashes? Notice that the question is not, when did such a need for God exist? but rather, when was I aware of it? When did my need so press in as to cause me to interrupt my life’s routine? My natural prayer tendency is to maintain a mental checklist of “gimmies”; as new needs arise, they are added to the gimmie list, and I move on. What I so often fail to recognize as I content myself with mere casual contact with God, is that my need for Him is profound. There is within me a God-planted longing that calls to deep places within.
But fasting, touching the deep longing for Him within my soul, will transform my prayer life. The “gimmie list” will be forgotten as I shut out all interruptions to seek His face. While fasting denies satisfaction through temporal pleasures, sackcloth suggests identification with discomfort and simplicity that will become a lifestyle. Ashes, a sign of focused mourning, will adorn me. It is in this attitude that longing is fulfilled. It is there that God is finally persuaded that I seek Him above all else. So I ask again, when was I last so in touch with my need of Him that my normal patterns of life were completely interrupted? When did I last pursue Him with such wholeheartedness? When was such longing last fulfilled?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You have wisely put within my heart a need that cannot be fulfilled other than by intimacy with You. Forgive me, Lord, for all the things I pursue that are not satisfying in the end. Cause my focus to return again to the passionate pursuit of intimacy with You above all else. In You, my longing is satisfied. In You, I am complete.