“But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.” – Daniel 6:10.
At some point in our life, we long for a mentor: somebody who can widely mold and shape our thoughts and habits, and give us the insight we need to help us find our way through life. You may not have a mentor now but there are plenty of them in the Bible. Daniel is a great example of a mentor. His story is truly remarkable because he had an excellent spirit. “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.” (Daniel 6:3 ESV)
But he also had courage. Daniel’s courage was not summoned in a moment of need: his courage was developed through a lifetime of small yet brave decisions. One of those decisions was choosing to pray when self-preservation would prompt a different action.
Daniel’s habits of prayer were known to the people around him since he practiced the habit of prayer in the open. There was no question of where Daniel’s allegiance centered. The king himself commented about the God whom Daniel continually served. “Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!” (Daniel 6:16 ESV)
Spiritual habits can also be helpful disciplines—powerful practices to reorient our hearts to God in the midst of life’s chaos. Regular routines are helpful for keeping us centered on God. We often need a break from busyness, and quiet time with God helps us reconnect with Him as the source of our strength and encouragement.
Based on his spiritual foundation, Daniel was able to take a stand and maintain a steady commitment to the Lord. Daniel was a young man when he said in Daniel 1:8, “But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king.” Other versions say, ” He made up his mind,” (NASB) “he resolved” (ESV), and” he purposed. “(KJV)
The purpose of engaging in and putting spiritual habits into practice is to become more like Jesus, to become holier, or even to become healthier. Those are all results, outcomes, and byproducts of spiritual habits. But the purpose for them, the reason we devote ourselves to these practices and develop these habits is much greater.
The great end to the means is knowing Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior more and more each day and enjoying Him. It’s finding ourselves drawn deeper into the One in which we find our identity, belonging, and purpose. The true purpose, final joy, and end goal of each habit or discipline are so perfectly stated by the apostle Paul in Philippians 3:8 (NIV): “I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”
- What is a habit you would like to break? What can you do to start breaking that habit this week?
- What are some spiritual habits you would like to start?