Nobody would argue with the fact that the Scripture contains a wide range of prayers. Needless to say, the majority of them are explicit for average Christians, but even the simplest prayer may contain a deeper message, which is placed far beyond terms of figurative meaning. For this reason, prayers are analyzed from different perspectives in order to retrieve historic, theological and religious insights. One of such prayers is Daniel’s prayer of confession that is widespread among Christians, notwithstanding little is known about its implications. The message of the prayer is obvious, though certain aspects have been raged unabated yet. In fact, the prayer contains numerous hermeneutic, exegetic, and expository references that should be discussed within the following paper.
To start with, Daniel’s prayer of confession implies the message that Daniel asked God to forgive people for all their sins. Actually, Daniel confessed that all humans acted sinfully to various extents. Therefore, Daniel spoke to God on their behalf. Admission of sins means his confession. Hence, confession should be regarded as not only an act of a humble person but also a sign of sincerity. The explanation of this fact can be delivered throughout the evidence that any sincere believer wants God to forgive him or her. In addition, this circumstance means the highest responsibility towards God as long as a need for the divine wisdom on a day-to-day basis demonstrates a commitment of Christian to one’s faith.
The prayer, however, is also oriented at the suggestion of cooperation with God. Daniel confessed about human sins, but he presumed human affiliation with Him as the way of being forgiven. The assumption can be referred to a promise to restore “His sanctuary in Jerusalem” and “restoring the ancient city.” The latter phrase is related to a rebel against God in Israel so that Daniel promised that these people regretted about actions of their ancestors which is why they would like to demonstrate their devotion. This prayer is not regular whereas priests include it in sermons on specific occasions. Nonetheless, many pastors prefer to explain this prayer in terms of that confession should be an initial act in relationship with God. In other words, one is expected to confess about his or her sins without an implication that something wrong was already done. Otherwise, confession will not be sincere. God will not forgive those, who are not humble enough to confess about one’s sinful nature.
In regards to the hermeneutical explanation of the prayer, an attention should be paid to that Daniel did not talk to God about his personal sins. He prayed on behalf of people of the entire Israel. Therefore, a fourfold structure of the prayer can be observed. Actually, Daniel talked about four sinful acts of people. Humans “have sinned” by making extreme harm to each other and to God’s faith, “done wrong’ throughout disobedience of God’s commands, “acted wickedly’ by having malicious thoughts and intentions, and “rebelled against Him.” Such a form of the prayer explicates the use of a personal pronoun “we” as long as Daniel spoke not for himself but for the whole mankind. In this respect, the prayer is usually said by high priests at sermons since they are allowed to talk to God closer than the rest of the members of a particular congregation. High priests are representatives of humans on the Heaven as well as representatives of God on the Earth so that they are able to speak instead of community at large.
Furthermore, the prayer implies a message of human responsibility for the exile and God’s control of the world history. People have to face exile as they betrayed God and lost His blessing. At the same time, God acts on His purpose of establishment of the eternal kingdom on the Earth. Hence, the prayer motivates people to confess their sins, become forgiven, and cooperate with God to create history which will be an eligible basis for the establishment of His kingdom. The prayer places an emphasis on that confession and humility will allow God to do everything for reaching His greatest aim. By the same token, the prayer did not mention that humans have to be forced to confess and obey the divine commands. To be more precise, God does not want good, but He needs a choice of good stressing that confession is important because admission of sins is a direct way to being forgiven.
As a consequence, the prayer renders a message of asking God for His mercy. Acceptance of God as the Lord of humans and promise to obey His commands mean that people should not take any sinful action. Thus, they have to obey God only while powerful rulers, kings, and etc. will face God’s curse in case they force people rebel against Him. Daniel came to confess to God because he feared that humans might have started revolting again. Daniel asked for mercy for those, who are still ready to choose good and God as their Lord. For this reason, the prayer of confession means asking for mercy and confirmation of human readiness to choose the side of good.
Eventually, the evidence that after Daniel’s prayer, an angel came to him implies a distinct message. Thus, God heard Daniel’s confession. God accepted his prayer as Daniel was humble and honest with Him. That circumstance implies a prophecy for being humble and obedient in relationship with God as the highest response of humans towards God whereas He hears modest and faithful people first. In light of such a confession, the eligibility of high priests for reading the prayer is justified since they render to God the human acceptance of their Lord.
To consider the prayer in terms of exegetical explanation, confession can be determined as a remarkable sign of relationships with God. An individual, who confesses about his or her sins to God, demonstrates the biggest sincerity. Regarding that, Daniel’s prayer of confession is a call for human sincerity in relationships with God, in attitudes towards each other, and towards themselves. In this way, this prayer makes a reference to words of the Apostle James: “Confess your faults one to another and pray one for another that ye may be healed for the effective fervent prayer of the righteous avails much.” Confession means spiritual healing so that a person, who is humble enough to confess about one’s sins, will be visible by God first.
An essential attention should be paid to multiple references to human exile. Since Daniel read the Scripture, he talked to God about Moses’ counsel to future exiles, Solomon’s prayer for future exiles accordingly, and Jeremiah’s letter to Babylonian exiles. Therefore, promises of confession and obedience can be observed in the verses of the related Biblical characters: “Then will I remember my convent with Jacob…”; “If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good…”; “…we have sinned against thee.” Taking these points into account, the prayer implies that people have already disobeyed God so that they have a second chance to be forgiven by Him.
In the same vein, Daniel refers to Erzah and Neheimah, who also identified themselves as representatives of sinful humans. Hence, speaking to God on behalf of the community is typical of many Biblical characters. The same action can be traced throughout the entire Biblical history. In this way, an assumption that responsibility towards God is inherited from generation to generation is possible since “children pay for sins of their parents.” What is more, this interpretation of the prayer leads to a proof that all people are sinful from the beginning of their lives. As a result, humans need to confess as long as every single individual acts wrongly, to a certain extent. Humans are imperfect, but they can be forgiven by God. However, they have to confess initially.
All in all, the prayer renders the message that people should ask God for forgiveness throughout confession about their sins. The prayer is evidently prophetical because Daniel envisioned the purpose of God regarding establishment of His kingdom on the Earth. Therefore, he confessed about human sins in order to petition God for allowing people to live in His kingdom. The idea of confession is based on that those, who are humble, will be given God’s blessing while sinners will suffer. At the same time, God does not curse them, but sinners suffer from their sins. Under these circumstances, people should heal themselves throughout being forgiven. This message can be traced within the entire Scripture which is why Daniel made several references to the future and past passages about confession.
Application of the prayer’s expository meaning is relatively obvious. The message of the prayer is essential for any faithful Christian as long as following the related command means to be a committed believer. Therefore, this prayer should be kept in mind. To be more specific, the message of the prayer is directed to the prayer life. Starting any prayer with admission of personal sins is a right action because asking God for something with a sin hidden is not a sincere attitude that is also sinful. Asking God to forgive the sins is the first thing that should guide every person’s addressing to God foremost. Any prayer is known to beg God for something that a human hope for which is why a hope for being forgiven is expected to be a primary need of any Christian. Furthermore, the message of the prayer can be applied to a personal prayer life in terms of praying for someone else, especially the one who is sinful. Such believers have to ask God to forgive that individual and direct towards the choice of good. Daniel’s prayer of confession proves that begging for forgiveness can expand on behalf of the entire community as “help your neighbor” command is eternal.
This paper gave an account on hermeneutic, exegetic, and expository explanation of Daniel’s prayer of confession. Except the main message of the prayer, the essay revealed specific references to the other characters of The Holy Bible and related verses. Moreover, the paper has indicated the overall importance of the prayer to the whole Christian doctrine. In fact, a human is supposed to confess about his or her sins initially in order to be heard by God as He expects every single human to choose the good on their own. Finally, the results of the analysis can be admitted: hermeneutical as well as exegetical perspectives evidenced the relevance of this statement and original inerrancy of the Scripture since its various aspects comply with each other. Thus, the further research should be related to placing the discussed prayer in the global context of the Scripture.
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