Scripture: Daniel 9:17-19
“Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”
Daniel is praying on behalf of God's people Israel. He admits that their captivity and the destruction of their city is deserved because of their sin. Despite that, he asks for forgiveness and restoration. Daniel asks God to hear his prayer and act, to look with favor on Israel. He states that his request isn't because of his righteousness but because of God's mercy. These verses contain both law and His gospel. The law is the description of sin and consequences for Israel. The gospel is the reminder that we can always call upon God for forgiveness and mercy.
Like Daniel, we also have to admit that most of the suffering we endure is deserved or a result of our own mistakes. Many times people use this as an reason not to go to God in prayer. We think that our unworthiness precludes us from speaking to Him. Daniel understands that this is the most important time to seek God's forgiveness. His restoration is the only thing that can take away our shame. The best thing we can do when we fall short of being holy is to come to God and be restored. Daniel didn't fully understand yet where that restoration comes from, but we do. It the righteousness of Christ that saves us.
Lord God, thank You for hearing my prayer even though my thoughts, words and actions are not always holy. Grant your people restoration in Jesus Christ so that we might worship You, serve You and give You glory. Amen.