Above all else Daniel is known as an outstanding man of prayer.
In the Bible we are given a number of insights into different elements of Daniel's prayers that can help us in our own desire to build an effective prayer life.
Daniel's life was subject to violent disruption and tremendous change, yet he was one of the most stable and composed of Bible characters.
Although Daniel operated in the fiercely competitive and corruptible political arena, even his enemies admitted that he was totally trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent in any of his duties (Daniel 6:4).
When still a young man and living in Jerusalem as a member of the nobility, he was captured by Nebuchadnezzar and forcibly deported 500 miles to Babylon where he had to adapt to a foreign language and culture.
Years later when Daniel had risen to a position of high esteem and authority, Darius the Mede conquered the Babylonian empire and Daniel once again confronted the insecurity of enforced change.
Throughout all of these upheavals and many other challenges, however, there was one thing that never faltered – Daniel's dedication to God and his determination to obey His commands.
There are several aspects of Daniel's character that are quite remarkable, but perhaps above all else he is known as an outstanding man of prayer.
It was Daniel's prayers that energised his spiritual life to give him supernatural wisdom to interpret visions and administer a vast kingdom (Daniel 2:18, 10:12).
He faced every situation with an extraordinary confidence and faith in God, even when he was thrown into the lions' den.
Even though Daniel was naturally intelligent and quick witted he realised that only God could provide the wisdom he needed in various situations.
He relied not only on his own prayers but was sufficiently humble to ask others to pray for him (Daniel 2:16–19). In modern parlance, we might say he had prayer partners!
In Daniel 6 we read the story of other jealous administrators trying to trap and remove him from high office.
Their one focus is Daniel's prayer life and they trick king Darius into signing a law that for thirty days any person caught praying to anyone other than the king should be thrown into the lions' den.
In this story we learn that Daniel prayed regularly every day, he prayed often (three times a day), and he prayed faithfully and publicly despite opposition, even if it was to mean his death (Daniel 6:10).
In chapter 9 we find Daniel reading the book of Jeremiah, inspiring him to pray.
The intensity of his prayers is astonishing because he clothes himself in sackcloth and covers himself in ashes as a public demonstration to God of his sincere repentance.
He fasts and passionately pleads with God for mercy for his nation.
In a wonderful example of an intercessor, the righteous and faithful Daniel identifies with his people when he confesses "we have sinned"; "we have been wicked"; "we have not obeyed"; and speaks of "our unfaithfulness" (Daniel 9:4–20).
Later, in Daniel 10:2–3, it records his three weeks' persistence in prayer and fasting and continual seeking of God until an answer is given.
Despite Daniel's immense reputation for wisdom, we learn that he did not become proud and arrogant but continued to humble himself in prayer before the Lord (Daniel 10:12).
The New Testament book of James reveals that often we do not receive from God because we do not pray correctly (James 4:2–3).
If we would only study and apply the principles of Daniel's prayer life to our own, we too could become people known for their wisdom and faith in a powerful God.
Our intercession for others could lead to their salvation and a mighty move of God in our own nation.
It is never enough to just study the lives of Bible characters; we also need apply the lessons they teach us to our own lives that we might be similar instruments of God's purpose for our own land and time.