Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
Men at Prayer

Praying to a Sovereign Lord

Daniel and the book of Jeremiah

In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, by descent a Mede, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans – in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. Daniel 9:1-2

Many Christians have been asked, “Why pray if God is sovereign?” Without a theological discourse, Daniel turns the question on its head as he prays that God will bring back the Israelites unto Zion.

Daniel’s prayer was not based upon some wishful hope or arcane, cryptic passage. Rather. Daniel was praying according to Jeremiah 25 where God declares that Nebuchadnezzar his servant will bring destruction on the land (Judah) and to lay it to waste. In verse twelve, Jeremiah states, “Then after seventy years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity, declares the Lord, making the land an everlasting waste.”

Daniel comprehended God’s sovereignty in raising Nebuchadnezzar and understood the seventy years of servitude. God sovereignty ordained both, just as He was ordaining the return of Israel, yet Daniel still prayed. These two things were not contradictory in Daniel’s eyes. 

Instead, his comprehending God’s sovereignty was the very basis of his prayers. Having immersed himself in God’s word, he fashioned his prayers accordingly.

We have the same opportunity before us. We know that God is bringing about His kingdom. Therefore, we should pray that God will establish that kingdom by drawing men and women to Him.

Daniel’s example shows us that instead of inaction, understanding that God is sovereign should result in a vibrant prayer life, grounded in His Word.


God is sovereign in the Gospel, and the Gospel is about His saving grace for all of life. Order a free copy of The Gospel of the Kingdom to refresh your understanding of the Good News for which we have been appointed witnesses (click here).

Ralph Lehman

Ralph Lehman, JD, CFA, CAIA, is an investment adviser after having spent nine years in a discipleship-focused ministry, Worldwide Discipleship Association, where his ministry focused primarily on college students and inner-city work. Ralph resides in Knoxville, TN with his wife Charlotte and he is a Board member for the Fellowship of the Ailbe.
Books by Ralph Lehman

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