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Opening Questions and Prayer

The following 3 questions are from the book “The Me I want to Be” by John Ortberg

  • If someone were to ask you, “How is your prayer life?” what would be your answer?

  • Is the state of your prayer life determined by how long you pray or how often?

  • Is it measured by how many people you are praying for, or how much faith you are praying with, or how many prayers get answered?

  • What are the key components of a good prayer life?

  • Why do we so often associate the length of our prayer time with the quality of our prayer time?

  • What might be a better measurement of a quality prayer life?

  • Talk to God about what He wants you to learn today from studying the Bible.

Read Daniel 6:3-5

Daniel 6:3-5 (All verses are in the NLT unless otherwise noted)

3 Daniel soon proved himself more capable than all the other administrators and high officers. Because of Daniel’s great ability, the king made plans to place him over the entire empire.

4 Then the other administrators and high officers began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling government affairs, but they couldn’t find anything to criticize or condemn. He was faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy. 5 So they concluded, “Our only chance of finding grounds for accusing Daniel will be in connection with the rules of his religion.”

  • Why were the other administrators and high officers out to get Daniel?

  • What are some distinguishing characteristics of Daniel?

    • How did Daniel have such a good foundation?

  • What is the foundation of your life?

  • What are some ways you can build (or start building) upon your foundation in Christ?

Read Daniel 6:6-10

Daniel 6:6-10

6 So the administrators and high officers went to the king and said, “Long live King Darius! 7 We are all in agreement—we administrators, officials, high officers, advisers, and governors—that the king should make a law that will be strictly enforced. Give orders that for the next thirty days any person who prays to anyone, divine or human—except to you, Your Majesty—will be thrown into the den of lions. 8 And now, Your Majesty, issue and sign this law so it cannot be changed, an official law of the Medes and Persians that cannot be revoked.” 9 So King Darius signed the law.

10 But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.

  • What was the new law created by the officials out to get Daniel?

  • How did Daniel respond?

    • Why was his response not reactionary, but already part of his life pattern?

  • What spiritual patterns do you have, so that when hard times hit, you already have the foundation in place?

  • What is a spiritual discipline you can start doing?

    • How and when will you do this?

Read Daniel 6:16-17

Daniel 6:16-17

16 So at last the king gave orders for Daniel to be arrested and thrown into the den of lions. The king said to him, “May your God, whom you serve so faithfully, rescue you.”

17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den. The king sealed the stone with his own royal seal and the seals of his nobles, so that no one could rescue Daniel.

  • How does the king feel about Daniel’s God at this point?

  • What is Daniel’s attitude in all of this?

  • In the midst of uncertainty, turmoil, as well as being deserted and betrayed by those he has worked alongside, how does he remain at peace?

  • How can consistent spiritual disciplines, like prayer and Bible reading, help you remain at peace during times of crisis?

Read Daniel 6:19-23

Daniel 6:19-23

19 Very early the next morning, the king got up and hurried out to the lions’ den. 20 When he got there, he called out in anguish, “Daniel, servant of the living God! Was your God, whom you serve so faithfully, able to rescue you from the lions?”

21 Daniel answered, “Long live the king! 22 My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight. And I have not wronged you, Your Majesty.”

23 The king was overjoyed and ordered that Daniel be lifted from the den. Not a scratch was found on him, for he had trusted in his God.

  • How did the Lord answer the prayers of His faithful servant, Daniel?

  • What did the king think about Daniel’s God?

  • How can persevering in prayer help you on a daily basis?

  • What might those that don’t follow Jesus say about your walk with Jesus?

Read Daniel 6:25-27

Daniel 6:25-27

25 Then King Darius sent this message to the people of every race and nation and language throughout the world: “Peace and prosperity to you!

26 “I decree that everyone throughout my kingdom should tremble with fear before the God of Daniel.

For he is the living God, and he will endure forever. His kingdom will never be destroyed, and his rule will never end. 27 He rescues and saves his people; he performs miraculous signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”

  • What happened as a result of Daniel persevering in prayer?

  • How does King Darius describe God?

  • What is one way you can communicate with God this week?

  • If you don’t have a great habit of praying, how can you develop a habit of prayer?

    • What would that look like?

    • What obstacles could get in the way?

  • If you already have good prayer habits, what helped you get there?

    • How do you maintain it with the business of life?

Read Matthew 6:9-13

Matthew 6:9-13

9 Pray like this:

Our Father in heaven,

may your name be kept holy.

10 May your Kingdom come soon.

May your will be done on earth,

as it is in heaven.

11 Give us today the food we need,

12 and forgive us our sins,

as we have forgiven those who sin against us.

13 And don’t let us yield to temptation,

but rescue us from the evil one.

  • How does Jesus teach His disciples to pray?

  • What stands out to you about this prayer?

  • How can you use this as a model or pattern to start praying this week?

  • Daniel had to start somewhere with his prayer habits, so what one thing can you do this week to be more aware of the presence of the Lord around you?

  • What is the Lord speaking to you today?

Memorize it!

Daniel 6:10

10 But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.

Closing thoughts and prayer

Prayer is a tricky thing for many followers of Jesus. We feel that we aren’t praying enough, or aren’t praying the right way because God doesn’t seem to answer our prayers, at least not the way we expect. Then we start praying less, which leads to feelings of guilt and dissatisfaction in our relationship with Jesus. But for Daniel, and Jesus, prayer was a vital part of living in surrender to God. It wasn’t a chore or a bore, but it’s what sustained them through the toughest of times.

Spend some time asking God to reframe how you view prayer. Spend some time thanking Him for the ability to communicate with Him. Then pray for someone who is struggling this week. End your time praying for the leaders in our church and country.

Further Study

Daniel 6:3-5

  • How does the plot against Daniel by the high officials parallel what happened to Jesus with the Pharisees?

  • Why do people get uncomfortable with other people when they are successful and doing the right thing?

    • How might they feel threatened?

  • Who are some people you look at and feel like they are better off in life than you?

    • Why do you feel this way?

    • How can those feelings lead to a destructive path?

  • The next time you find yourself comparing your life, circumstances, status, etc. to someone else, how can you turn that into a prayer moment with God?

Daniel 6:6-10

  • Why is consistency in your spiritual walk with Jesus important?

  • What are some ways life might disrupt those things you have in place to keep you on the right path?

  • What are some past spiritual practices you had that are no longer as consistent (or even existent) in your life right now?

  • Looking at your current circumstances, what can you adjust, change, quit, so that you can start establishing a consistent time to connect with the Lord?

  • What would that look like?

Daniel 6:16-17

  • How does this passage parallel what happened to Jesus?

  • What are some ways your consistent spiritual practices can help you share the gospel with others?

  • What is the most consistent spiritual practice you currently have?

    • How did it get that way, and how do you not let things distract you from it?

Daniel 6:19-23

  • Why did the king like Daniel so much?

  • When we live the way Jesus taught us to live, how does that help us show others their value in His Kingdom?

  • How does this passage foreshadow the resurrection of Jesus?

  • When our life in Christ is consistent, how does that point to Jesus?

Daniel 6:25-27

  • What transformation do we see in King Darius?

  • How does prayer change us and those around us?

  • Who are you praying for that needs to know about Jesus?

  • How can you persevere in praying for them this week?

Matthew 6:9-13

  • How long would it take you to pray this prayer?

  • What are some ways you can start injecting some short prayers into your daily routine?

  • What might change if you started looking at prayer as an ongoing conversation with an ever present God, instead of just a few minutes of quiet prayer set aside each day?

  • Why is it important to have both ongoing conversations and set aside time?

  • Who can help you grow in your prayer life this week?

    • When will you talk to them?


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