Daniel and his three friends were young Israelites taken to Babylon to serve in the court of Nebuchadnezzar. Separated from their families, given new names, trained in pagan culture, and counted among the magicians of the royal household, these four were daily surrounded by unyielding godlessness. And yet, Scripture tells us that they were not captive to its futility. When Nebuchadnezzar threatens him with death, Daniel’s response is markedly different from that of the franticly fawning sorcerers:
Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. (Dan. 2:17–18)
In the face of impending chaos, Daniel and his friends cast themselves on the Lord. In contrast to the pagan Babylonians, they were praying people.
Like Daniel and his companions, we, too, are strangers in a strange land. We are surrounded by a prevailing godlessness that believes our great hope rests in technology or medicine or money or human resourcefulness. But when we pray together, we testify—and remind one another—that our hope comes from somewhere else entirely. We are not wringing our hands, desperate for human solutions. We are praying people.
We also must be praying people because, in prayer together, we grow in love for another. When we walk into a prayer meeting and hear others praying words of deep affection for our covenant-keeping God, we find ourselves among friends. Each person who is united to Christ, everyone who loves Him and is loved by Him, is also bound together with us in love (Eph. 3:14–19). Any friend of Jesus is a friend of ours.
Praying together, then, is an expression of our love. We “bear one another’s burdens” to the throne of grace (Gal. 6:2). We “rejoice with those who rejoice [and] weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15). We “remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them” (Heb. 13:3). We beat back our common enemy by “making supplication for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18). Young and old, male and female, healthy and sick, wealthy and poor, mature believers and new converts bring one another’s concerns before the Lord. As praying people, we love one another.
And when we take up the task of praying people, we receive a precious gift. Christ Himself promises to be among us. No matter how small our group or how feeble our requests, the One who lives to make intercession prays alongside us (Heb. 7:25). Whenever His praying people gather in His name, Christ will attend every time.
Brothers and sisters, let us pray.