So I turned my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and petitions, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. Lord, hear! Lord, forgive! Lord, listen and act! My God, for Your own sake, do not delay, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name.
— Daniel 9:3,19, HCSB
Jesus taught his disciples to pray, and he often urged upon them the necessity of prayer. He did not bid them to study books to learn a form of prayer. They were not to offer prayer to men, but to make their requests known to God. He taught them that the prayer which God accepts is the simple, earnest petition from a soul that feels its need; and he promised to send the Holy Spirit to indite their prayers.
Daniel’s example of prayer and confession is given for our instruction and encouragement... Daniel knew that the appointed time for Israel’s captivity was nearly ended; but he did not feel that because God had promised to deliver them, they themselves had no part to act. With fasting and contrition he sought the Lord, confessing his own sins and the sins of the people.
He said: “All Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice... All this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the Lord our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth.”
There had been a kind of prayer offered,—commonplace, self-justifying prayer,—but not the prayer that comes from a broken heart and contrite spirit. Daniel makes no plea on the ground of his own goodness; but he says: “O my God, incline thine ear, and hear... for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousness, but for thy great mercies.” His intensity of desire makes him earnest and fervent.
Heaven responded to that prayer by sending its messenger to Daniel. In this our day, prayers offered in like manner will prevail with God. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
That God who heard Daniel’s prayer will hear ours when we come to him in contrition. Our necessities are as urgent, our difficulties are as great, and we need to have the same intensity of purpose, and in faith roll our burden upon the great Burden-bearer. There is need for hearts to be as deeply moved in our time as in the time when Daniel prayed.
— The Review and Herald, February 9, 1897
O Lord, I turn to You with a broken and contrite spirit fasting and confession of my sins and earnestly present my needs, not because of any righteousness of my own, but according to Your great mercies. Send Your Holy Spirit, let me understand Your truth and Your good ways. By faith I faith roll my burden upon You, for You are the great Burden-bearer.