From Daniel chapter 6:
these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this
man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.”
6 So these administrators and satraps went as a group to the king and said: “May King Darius live forever! 7 The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors
have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the
decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next
thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the
lions’ den. 8 Now,
Your Majesty, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot
be altered—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which
cannot be repealed.” 9 So King Darius put the decree in writing.
10 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. 11 Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help. 12 So
they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree: “Did you
not publish a decree that during the next thirty days anyone who prays
to any god or human being except to you, Your Majesty, would be thrown
into the lions’ den?”
The king answered, “The decree stands—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.”
This passage has been playing over and over again in my mind. Daniel didn't rail against an unjust law. He didn't form a protest group. He didn't grumble in his tent (another passage that speaks volumes to me). He learned about the degree and went to his room to pray, as was his habit.
Life is unfair. I have a lot that irritates me. I strive to be like Daniel, for my first response to be to pray as troubles pester. Daniel established prayer as a habit.
I keep in mind also the nun from Sound of Music. The Nazis are chasing the Von Trapp family, rattling the gates at the convent. The nun unhurried in her black flowing habit strides to the gate. She smiles oh so faintly as she fumbles with the keys- she knew which key she needed, she was stalling for time. In real world, the leader would have been cursing her and flinging all kinds of insults. She nods and slowly opens the gates. Her confidence is in the peace of serving her God and doing right.
I aim for prayer as a habit and inner peace from that habit. I'm glad I have words and images to bring to mind when troubles rattle the gate to my world. Because Nazis and evil bang on the gates of my life I try to control. But as I read a quote from Charles Spurgeon last night:
Well, maybe I haven't yet, but ever forward with the nun's smile of inner peace from spending time alone with my God.