Though a captive in a foreign government, he rose quickly to great prominence and served many years with distinction.
Daniel was taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar 500 miles east to Babylonia. When he was only about 19 years of age, he interpreted a complicated dream by the king, and this catapulted him into national prominence.
He took no credit for the interpretation, but gave praise to God and said: “There is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days.”
It seems that most of what Daniel predicted was meant for “latter days.” However, the king’s dream foretold four world empires, starting with the king.
Three empires are named later in his book, and his description of the fourth empire fits only the Roman Empire.
Daniel told the king that the king saw a large stature “Whose splendor was excellent” (2:2).
The very next chapter of Daniel (3:1-30), tells of the king trying to take the lives of Daniel’s close associates.
Let the Bible tell the story: “These three men Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
“Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counsellors, ‘did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?”
“True, O king!”
“Look!” he answered, ‘I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” What a fabulous story of God’s power to intervene and deliver!
Since early childhood you have heard of Daniel in the den of lions. God’s locking their jaws and bringing Daniel out unscathed makes for a stirring and graphic story from God’s Word. The account is found in Daniel 6.
The whole episode came about because Daniel was a man of prayer. He refused to pass up his prayer time, even though he knew that the act of praying would lead him from the king’s palace to the lion’s den; he valued prayer higher than life.
Note that in the first few verses of chapter 9 the prophet was reading in the Book of Jeremiah, and then he sought God in prayer and fasting.
Read Daniel’s prayer in chapter 9; hear him as he confesses his sins and those of his people; feel his heartthrob as he implores God in verse 19: “O 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.”
It was after reading God’s Word that Daniel was moved to pray the great prayer of chapter 9.
Also, it was after this time of Bible reading and prayer that he was morally and spiritually prepared to receive the revelation of the incredible prophecy known as the 70 Weeks.
This grand old prophet — Berkeley says he was at least 84 — had learned the combination that unlocks the door to spiritual opportunities; that is, he had learned to study the Bible, to fast, and to pray.
Though he lived 2,500 years ago, he had come upon this ever-current formula that led him to spiritual heights with God. That same time-tested formula will work for us today.
Prayer will bring results for us as surely as it did for Daniel. Jesus promised, “When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:6).
Thirty minutes in prayer each day will revolutionize any Christian’s life. Prayer brings us to the basics of our spiritual existence, as it did Daniel. No other activity will remove the froth and chaff of everyday life and let us see clearly with a spiritual eye.
It may take 20 minutes of the 30-minute prayer time to “close the door,” but once our mind closes out distractions, the 10 minutes remaining of holy communion is worth the battle. Daniel knew that.