By Larry Ray Hafley
From Virginia: “Certainly we have to admire Daniel’s courage in praying to God after the edict not to pray for 30 days, but why did he have to do it before an open window, just because the command had not yet been given not to pray to be seen of men?”
If you are not familiar with the story of Daniel in the lions’ den, read the sixth chapter of Daniel. The question above is based on the events described in that passage.
Even in the Old Testament, praying to be seen of men was wrong. The consideration of Daniel’s deeds does not involve that particular point. Suffice it to say that Daniel did not pray to be seen of men. If he had, he would have been censored. It is not indicated in the sacred narrative that Daniel acted improperly in any manner. His conduct was vindicated by his miraculous deliverance. The fact that neither Daniel’s behavior nor his judgment were questioned is tacit proof of the propriety of his actions in every respect.
Matthew Henry answers the major portion of our querist’s question; so, we shall let him conclude this column.
“When he knew that the writing was signed he continued to do as he did aforetime, and altered not one circumstance of the performance. Many a man, yea, and many a good man, would have thought it prudence to omit it for these thirty days, when he could not do it without hazard of his life; he might have prayed so much the oftener when those days had expired and danger was over, or he might have performed the duty at another time, and in another place, so secretly that it should not be possible for his enemies to discover it; and so he might both satisfy his conscience and keep up his communion with God, and yet avoid the law, and continue in his’ usefulness. But, if he had done so, it would have been thought, both by his friends and by his enemies, that he had thrown up the duty for this time, through cowardice and base fear, which would have tended very much to the dishonor of God and the discouragement of his friends. Others who moved in a lower sphere might well enough act with caution; but Daniel, who had so many eyes upon him, must act with courage; and the rather because he knew that the law, when it was made, was particularly leveled against him. Note, we must not omit duty for fear of suffering, no, nor so much as seem to come short of it. In trying times great stress is laid upon our confessing Christ before men (Matt. x. 32), and we must take heed lest, under pretense of discretion, we be found guilty of cowardice in the cause of God.”
Truth Magazine XXII: 20, p. 322
May 18, 1978