December 31

Daniel 9:2-3, 19 2in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. 3So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.

19O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name."

The prophet Daniel was reading the prophecies of Jeremiah and discovered that it was time for the captivity to be over. He didn't run out and tell everyone to pack his bags. In his heart he knew the people were not spiritually ready, so he interceded for them in prayer. He discerned the need for repentance before they returned and ended up making the same mistakes. He was very earnest in his intercession even fasting and donning sackcloth and ashes.

What a heart this man of God had for the people of God! But even more than that, he had a heart after God. He closes his prayer by asking because the people and city bear the name of Jehovah. He was concerned about the reputation of the name of the Lord in the world. Have you ever prayed for the church you attend with that in mind? "God help us because we are a poor example of Christ. We need forgiveness and restoration because we are called Christians." It is a new perspective for many of us. We pray about many things but rarely out of concern for the name of the LORD. May the LORD help us all to be a testimony of the great name of God in all we do and say.

The angel Gabriel came to speak to Daniel about his prayer. Gabriel told Daniel that he is highly esteemed. He is in heaven's Hall of Fame. Tomorrow's evening devotion (January 1) is on the incredible word the angel brought to Daniel about forgiveness and restoration.

Consider: May we all prefer the honor of heaven over the honor of men.