“If we spent less time on our feet and more time on our knees; and if we spent less time talking with men and more time talking with God; and if we spent less time caring about our neighbors thoughts and more time meditating in prayer on God’s Word, we would be more holy, consistent, and reputable. We must be men and women who are above reproach, and in order for this to be the case, we must be men and women on our knees.”
Daniel was an exemplary young man. Despite the hard providences of God, he remained faithful. He was not the average teenager, and even the pagan Babylonians recognized this fact. Daniel was a youngster without reproach.
Daniel remained an exemplary worshiper as he walked through middle age. As the years mounted, his faithfulness before his God faltered not. It mattered not the situation or the king; for better or for worse; for richer or for poorer; Daniel remained the Lord’s man. He was one who would worship none other. He was one in whom the Spirit of God rested. And he was one who could be counted on to express the infallible wisdom of God without apology. Daniel’s testimony suffered no mid-life crisis. He was a middle-aged man above reproach.
Daniel, in his old age, remained faithful. All about him changed. Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, and the Babylonian dynasty had come and gone. Darius and the Medes now reigned supreme. However, Daniel’s faithfulness before his God changed not. As a man, as an elder, as a worshiper, as a neighbor, as a subject, and as a political servant, he was above reproach. And even his political enemies recognized this fact:
Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. Then the high officials and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. Then these men said, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.” (Daniel 6:3-5)
Daniel’s enemies wished to take him down a notch. They wished to remove him from his influential post. They wished to see him executed. However, upon fully vetting their opponent, no weak points could be found. No sexual indiscretion could be uncovered or hidden interns found in the closet. He had not misused corporate or public funds. He was not noted for being a power-hungry bully or self-serving extortionist. One could “read his lips” and count on him keeping every word. No sexts (sexual texting) were found on the web; no elevator videos could damn him, and no emails were mysteriously found missing. No, Daniel was a gracious servant leader who for decades modeled a love for God and his fellow man. In Babylon, there was not a judge or jury who would even hear a case against him. Any accusations would be laughable, unless someone accused him of faithfully worshiping his God and spending too much time and energy in prayer. Throughout his life, and to the end, Daniel was a man whose testimony was stellar. He was a man above reproach.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to marry such a man? How happy would be the wife whose husband loved God more than her? She would be so cherished and protected. She would be so honored and adored. She would be so improved by the man who regularly fell on his knees in prayer, and then remained there in loving service to his beloved. He could not do her wrong, for long, for he would sense the lack of intimacy in his hours of prayer and would desire to repent and reconcile with incredible haste.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be fathered by such a man? He would spend himself providing well for his household, and any act of discipline would not be to safeguard his reputation, but to elevate, improve, and sanctify his children. Because he was regularly found on his knees asking for wisdom, he would be given such wisdom in abundance and would be a more than adequate leader, guide and counselor.
And wouldn’t it be wonderful to work for such a man? His business would be more likely to thrive due to his work ethic, honesty, and charity. He would keep his word with his customers and his employees. Upon his passing, thousands of those graced by his life would gather to celebrate his legacy.
And wouldn’t it be wonderful to be pastored or eldered by such a man? He would be a team player and not a ecclesiastical monarch. He would be less concerned with the opinions of made men, wealthy men, influential men, angry men, lost men, and friendly men, and more interested in proclaiming the unvarnished words of God. Therefore, his congregation would consider themselves blessed, and they would follow without fearing what may come to light in coming days.
And wouldn’t it be wonderful to elect and be publicly served by such a man? Oh that God would give us political leaders who are political servants who are petitioners of the Most High God. Aren’t we weary of sexual scandal? Aren’t we weary of self-serving legislators? Aren’t we weary of men removing the Scripture from public schools and offices, and wouldn’t we rather have men known for callouses on their knees due to their consistent habit of prayer? What we need are men above reproach!
And wouldn’t it be wonderful to be such a man? Wouldn’t we like this to be said about us? Wouldn’t this make an incredible eulogy or inscribed epitaph on our grave stones? This may not be our history, but it can be our future. We can do nothing about the horrible inconsistencies and transgressions of yesterday, but we can honor the Lord and love our neighbor by seeking to be such men of integrity today and tomorrow.
And how might we make progress towards such a noble end? Daniel’s prayer life is the key. If we spent less time on our feet and more time on our knees; and if we spent less time talking with men and more time talking with God; and if we spent less time caring about our neighbors thoughts and more time meditating in prayer on God’s Word, we would be more holy, consistent, and reputable. We must be men and women who are above reproach, and in order for this to be the case, we must be men and women on our knees.
Joseph A. Franks IV is a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and is Pastor of Palmetto Hills Presbyterian Church in Simpsonville, South Carolina. This article first appeared on his blog, and is used with permission.