Prayer is fascinating. It connects us to God, to others, to ourselves. Prayer is a mysterious bond, which provides peace, comfort, and hope to the believer. It is given to the community by God as a gift. We are taught how to pray from Christ himself.
I remember being part of the exam team for a minister coming into the presbytery. She spoke very powerfully about prayer during her introductory time, both in her life and in her ministry. And so I asked as a follow up question, “Do you think Prayer should be a Sacrament, like Baptism and the Lord’s Supper? Why or why not?” Her answer provided some time for all of us to reflect on the impact of God in our daily life.
Prayer may not rise to the level of a sacrament, but it has sacramental aspects to it. It is, in many ways, an outward sign of an inward grace – and one that we as community engage in daily.
In Daniel, God reveals Nebuchadnezzar’s dream to Daniel, Daniel gives thanks to God for revealing the deep and hidden things, and sets the stage for interpreting the dream. In all of it, we see a sharp contrast between the magicians of the king’s court and Daniel. At every turn, Daniel honors God.
As I think more about prayer and giving God thanks, I am reminded it is even more than how we usually see prayer in America – as a pleading for our wants. And while it is natural to cry out to God in pain and despair, it can also be an exclamation of thanks and praise. I am not sure I hear many prayers of thanks like Daniel prayed here.
How many of us truly give thanks for all the blessings that God has given us? Here for Daniel it was the revealing of a mystery. I wonder how our days would change if everyone treated their lives and all that is in it as a gift from God. It is hard to do! I know I struggle with that.
I draw your attention to Daniel today, and ask you to think about how and when you go to God in prayer.