Then Daniel went to his house, and made the decision known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, that they might seek mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret, so that Daniel and his companions might not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him. I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of You, for You have made known to us the king’s demand.” (Daniel 2:17-23)
The Power Of Collective Prayer
It was the worst of times. Daniel and his friends had been taken captive by a heathen nation and forced to serve in the courts of the king. Their names were changed; education forced upon them from the oppressors and challenged to eat delicacies they had to refuse. Through faith they were able to overcome being forced to eat food that would defile them but more battles remained. Their lives were danger as the king had a dream and because no wise man could tell the dream and its meaning a command was given to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. Word came to Daniel his fellow wise men were being slaughtered. Imploring Nebuchadnezzar to give him time Daniel knew the answer could only come from the Lord.
Normally a king would have a dream and ask his wise men to explain the dream. A good charlatan could easily give the king an interpretation that would soothe his troubled mind. However Nebuchadnezzar demanded the wise men tell him his dream and the interpretation. No one could do it. The faith of Daniel was exemplified when he tells the king to give him time to discover the dream and its meaning. How could this be done? Whom did Daniel think would give him that power? He knew this could only be the work of Jehovah God.
What Daniel did is a powerful testimony to the purpose of collective prayer. He did not pray alone. The need was great. This was something that needed the power of communal prayer. Returning to his home he found his three companions and the four of them prayed earnestly for their deliverance. The dream and its meaning is revealed through their faith and trust in God. They understood how great the Lord was ruling in the affairs of men. Their dependence was not on man’s wisdom but from the word of God. They also understood they needed each other. Prayer is a powerful testimony to the faith of the individual but when prayer is combined in a collective action of faith it can move mountains in a massive way.
The days of the prophets were days of turmoil. There were many needs on an individual level and especially on a national level. Daniel shows a pattern of prayer that is often untapped in the church today. This is something beyond the individual prayer and beyond the scope of the “normal prayers” during an assembly. The need of the hour is specific and urgent. They gathered together as four men to prayer fervently for an answer that seemed impossible. Because of their faith deliverance was granted. The power of collective prayer by individuals may have lost its popularity but it has not lost its influence on the Lord. There is a need of restoration within the body of God’s people to realize the power of joining hearts together in prayer for a common cause. Daniel went home to pray with his friends. This Babylonian prayer meeting changed the course of history.
Prayer pleads the promises of God and from those promises rise the need to share our faith with others in asking His favor. There is strength in praying people and increasing their number in a union of prayer exalts the power of God. When specific needs arise our heartfelt concern should also include the action of collective prayer. It can change the world.
Do not pray for easy lives; pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers; pray for power equal to your tasks. (Phillips Brooks, Perennials, 1898)