THE THIRD CHARACTERISTIC—COOPERATING WITH GOD THROUGH PRAYERS
Daniel had a third characteristic. He was a man who was always praying. His prayers were not at all common. His prayers were prayers that turned the age. Every time he encountered some crucial matter, he prayed before God. He believed absolutely in prayer. He believed in prayer because he believed in God and not in himself.
From chapter two on, the book of Daniel mentions Daniel’s prayers. Of course, I fully believe that in chapter one he prayed also. When he was eating vegetables only, I fully believe that he must have prayed every day. He declared before God and Satan that the health of his body did not at all depend on the Gentile food and drink. He believed in God’s care only. This was why he and the other three young men could still be strong even though they ate vegetables only. He believed in God’s care and he must have prayed much.
Chapter two shows us a picture, one in which everyone on earth was ignorant of the things of God. Not only were the Babylonian magicians ignorant, even the Israelites were ignorant. Why were they ignorant? It was because they were under Satan’s ruling and were following Satan. Here we see God coming in to vindicate. He vindicated by showing that Daniel and his three friends were different from all the other people. No one on earth knew the profound things of God but Daniel. In chapter one it was Daniel and his three friends who separated themselves. In chapter two it was God who vindicated them. The separation in chapter one was done by they themselves standing up. The separation in chapter two was done by God for them.
Here God raised up an environment. He caused the king of Babylon to have a dream. The strange thing is that the king was clear in the dream, yet he could not remember what went on in the dream after he woke up. Therefore, he called together all the magicians in Babylon, as well as all the wise and knowledgeable ones. None of them could tell or explain the dream. This is a picture. It shows us that all the followers of Satan on earth cannot understand the profound things of God. At that juncture, God vindicated Daniel. He showed everyone that here was one who was particularly separated. He was acknowledged by God, qualified to be used by God, and capable of speaking forth the mystery of God.
Here we must see and lay hold of a principle. Such a one must be a person who cooperates with God. And the highest expression of a man who cooperates with God is in prayer.
Before the king of Babylon called for Daniel, he declared that if none of the magicians or learned ones in Babylon under him could explain the dream, he would destroy them all. Among those who were to be killed were Daniel and his three friends. I fully believe that Daniel would have told his three friends to pray with him. There they afforded God the highest cooperation; they gave God the highest coordination. In their single-hearted prayer, God revealed to Daniel the dream. It was the dream of the king of Babylon, but now Daniel saw it also. Not only did Daniel see that dream in his prayer, he understood its meaning as well. This shows that Daniel was a person living before God; he depended on prayer to do what man could not do, and he depended on prayer to understand what man could not understand. He was a person who cooperated with God in prayer.
We should believe that Daniel would not have seen the dream nor understood its meaning if he had not prayed. The only reason he could see King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and could know its meaning was that he was a person living in prayer. Through prayer he afforded God the highest cooperation.
Sometimes I am reminded of the way books are printed. If you visit a printing factory, you will find plates filled with properly-set type on the printing press. Underneath the plates is the paper. When the press starts, sheets of paper are impressed with the letters from the plates. If the paper is not positioned in the proper place, nothing will be printed. If the paper is placed a little out of position, the image will not appear properly. If you want the plates to stamp the paper correctly, you have to position the paper correctly. In the same way, God’s desire can be likened to a plate. King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was a plate typeset with God’s desire. The plate was there, but it needed Daniel to be a piece of properly-positioned paper. If the paper was positioned correctly, the dream as a plate concerning God’s desire would spontaneously be printed on it. This position upon which God could print His desire onto Daniel was prayer. Had Daniel and his three friends not prayed at that time but rather been busy with other things, it would have been like the paper positioned wrongly. If the paper was positioned improperly, it would be impossible to print the letters from the plate. However, when Daniel came back from the king of Babylon, I believe that the first thing he did was to pray with his three friends. In this prayer, God printed His desire into Daniel.
(Men Who Turn the Age, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)