In Daniel 6 we see clear evidence that this wonderful man, now in his old age, was a man who had a regular prayer life. His critics were jealous of the king’s opinion of him and they look for ways to discredit his loyalty to the king. They confer together and decide; “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God” (verse 5).

They persuade the King to issue an ordinance banning the making of petitions (i.e., prayers) “to any God or man for 30 days except to you O King” (verse 7). Now “when Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God as he had done previously” (verse 10). This was reported to the king, and because the king’s laws were treated as immutable their report led to Daniel being put into the Lion’s Den; his miraculous preservation followed.

The most significant lesson is that Daniel was a man of constant prayer, daily in communion with the only true God. In chapter 10 we read of his distress at the awesome visions given to him: a heavenly being then comes and says, “O man greatly loved, fear not, peace be with you: be strong and of good courage” (verse 19).

In our Acts reading, we noted the reasons why the disciples decide to appoint deacons. The number of believers being baptised and joining the church had become so many that there is need for more organisation. With their appointment the disciples said, “we will devote ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the word” (6:4).

This is an example to the effective operation of ecclesias – and a cause for reflection on the part of ‘elders’. It also reminds us how those baptised on the day of Pentecost “devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayers” (2:42). How well are we following these examples? What are the grounds of complaint against us? Are there any that are parallel to those made against Daniel?