Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.
As it happened in those days, Daniel had established himself in the eyes of the king (King Darius), “because he possessed an extraordinary spirit… [Thus] the king planned to appoint him over the entire kingdom” (Dan. 6:3, NAS).
Well, wouldn’t you know, the other commissioners and assistants, whom Darius had appointed, became jealous of Daniel and plotted against him. And they came to the king and requested that he should establish a statute, and enforce an injunction that if anyone makes a petition to any other god beside King Darius for thirty days he should be cast into the lion’s den.
So the king established the injunction and signed the document. But Daniel continued making petitions to his God even though he knew about the injunction and that the document had been signed. No, he was not about to stop his holy practice of prayer for thirty days, or even for one day. In fact, he continued on his knees three times a day praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously.
Now some would think, was this such a big deal—to stop praying for just thirty days? Or couldn’t he just stop his public praying and pray in a closed room for those thirty days? What was the big deal? What was Daniel trying to prove?
Well, the answer is this: Daniel wasn’t trying to prove anything. He was just doing what he had always done, and it was important to him. Furthermore, he knew that if he stopped praying, as was his custom, he would be publicly denying God and would be broadcasting to the world that he wasn’t really a true believer. He couldn’t do that. He wouldn’t back down for no one, even if it meant being torn apart by lions. Therefore, he stood fast and was determined to be unashamed of His God.
Thus he prayed publicly in his roof chamber, facing Jerusalem. This practice was significant because Jerusalem was where the temple was, hence, where sacrifices to God were made, where the throne of God’s grace was located, and where mercy was received in prayer (Heb. 4:16).
Correspondingly, the city and the temple may be considered as types of our Lord Jesus, through which all prayer must be directed. In the Old Testament prayer was to be directed toward Jerusalem and the temple, where animal sacrifices were made, so that God would hear from heaven (1 Kings 8:38, 44, 48-50). But now we need not pray toward Jerusalem or any temple, because we have Jesus inside us. We are the temple of God, and the Spirit of Jesus and the Father dwells in us (1 Cor. 3:16). Therefore, when we pray, we pray within ourselves, to the Father, in Jesus name. And the Father who is both in heaven and dwelling in us is quick to hear our prayers—for Jesus, who died for us, is forever interceding for us (Rom. 8:34).