The other day, I said “Happy Holidays” to someone and immediately felt funny about it. It was not the feeling of conviction, but the realization that I had used a greeting that has been tagged as our society’s “I hate the Christian’s version of Christmas” salutation.
As the great debate about “Merry Christmas” continues on in some minds (not mine, though), as well as other perceived forms of persecution, I have often thought about Daniel’s response to real persecution. If you recall, Daniel had been carried away into Babylon and made a servant of the king. He had a common practice of praying in a very specific and public way.
Once the king signed a decree against praying for 30 days, Daniel did something I think is worth mimicking.
Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. Daniel 6:10
He did not start a petition. He did not even protest. And He did not change his prayer practice. I like that.
The action of Daniel is here that of a man of true conscientiousness; he does not obtrude his religion now that the practice of it implies danger, as did some Christian fanatics in the persecution of the three first centuries; nor, on the other hand, does he hide his acts of worship – he simply continued his previous habits. (Pulpit Commentary for Daneil 6:10 at biblehub.com)
I think persecution is a tricky thing. Agree?
Should I ever encounter a ban on prayer in my life, I pray that I respond as Daniel did to his ban – do what I’ve always done. I am not going to make up more ways to demonstrate my faith to make it a spectacle, but like Daniel, I plan to pray as normal.
No one can take prayer from me. I can look you dead in the eye, carry on a conversation with you AND STILL be praying to God. I can pray about anything, anywhere, and at any time.
This world can lock me up, take my Bible, and restrict me from Christian fellowship, but I will still be able to pray to my heavenly Father. I.LOVE.THAT.
If prayer were banned today, what part of your prayer regimen would you continue on as normal that may be subject to scrutiny as Daniel’s was?
- Praying in public before meals?
- Praying for loved ones in the hospital?
- Prayer Journaling?
Gina Duke is the award-winning author of Organizing Your Prayer Closet: A New and Life-Changing Way to Pray (Abingdon Press), that introduces the gift of structured prayer journaling. You can enjoy her weekly #ShePrayerJournals weekend workshops on YouTube, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @TheGinaDuke.