Playing second fiddle- Hananiah, Mishael & Azariah

You may not recognise these names at all, but you know about them; they are the friends of Belteshazzar, who is otherwise known as Daniel. We refer to them by their Persian names of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They had all been taken from Judah, as the Babylonians prevailed against their neighbouring tribes. These young men, and others like them, were taken into the royal court, to be trained and instructed and to serve in the king’s palace. Daniel and his friends resisted this enculturation, so that they could retain their identity as the people of God. You may recall how they resisted eating the rich foods from the royal rations so as not to defile themselves. They apparently thrived on a strictly vegetarian diet, with which some of you may well identify.
Daniel in particular gained favour in court, and became known as one of the wise men of Babylon. At the beginning of their story, there is the quite well-known account of the king having a disturbing dream, which was revealed by God to Daniel. He had to go and see Nebuchadnezzar (who was in a rage) in order to impart this revelation, so he gathered his friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and asked them together to seek mercy from God, for their lives were in peril. You can read this in Daniel chapter 2.
Now this praying together is the point of today’s reflection. We are encouraged to pray together, it is what God’s people do. But why? God has excellent hearing, excellent understanding of our needs, and the needs of those for whom we pray. If we pray harder, are we more likely to get the result we want? If there are more of us praying together, does God relent and answer our prayer positively? If we don’t pray together, are we failing God and each other?
You may have seen some of the praying that was shown on TV during the American presidential election: they shouted at God, they repeated the same words over and over again, they knelt very publicly with exhortations. I guess there may be a time and place for that, just as there is for praying in tongues, but however we approach prayer, we unify our prayers because God knows it is good for us to do so. It is good because we are made aware that he hears each one of us, good because no one person’s prayer is more powerful than another and it helps us in our walk of faith to know we are doing something for others. Prayer may not seem much when we are confronted with a tsunami of desperate needs, but nothing can be achieved for the Kingdom of God if we do not pray. So, keep talking with God, he is your Father, he loves it when you do. God bless you.

Comments are closed.