After the Babylonians had been defeated, Darius the Mede divided his new empire into a hundred and twenty states. He placed a governor in charge of each of the states, and Darius placed three administrators over all of the governors. Daniel was one of the administrators. Daniel did his work so much better than the other governors that the king decided to let him govern the whole kingdom.

The other leaders were not happy about the king's decision; they tried to find something wrong with Daniel's work. "I cannot believe it. I refuse to believe it," exclaimed the administrator. "Surely Daniel has made a mistake sometime. Has he not lied, cheated, taken a bribe?"

"We have conducted a complete investigation of Daniel's life, and we cannot accuse him of anything wrong. Daniel is honest and faithful in his work; he does everything that he is supposed to do," replied the governor in charge of the investigation.

"What shall we do?" The administrator asked the group of governors. "Does anyone have any suggestions about how we can find fault with Daniel?"

After a lot of discussion, they finally came to a conclusion. "We will never be able to bring any charge against Daniel unless it has to do with his religion."

They all went to the king and said, "Your Majesty, we hope you live forever! All of your officials, leaders, advisors, and governors agree that you should make a law forbidding anyone to pray to any god or human except to you for the next thirty days. Everyone who disobeys this law must be thrown into a pit of lions. Order this to be written, and then sign it. That way, it cannot be changed, just as no written law of the Medes and Persians can be changed." King Darius liked the proposal; he made it into a law without thinking about its consequences.

Daniel walked home, thinking about the latest turn of events; it was obvious to him who was behind the king's latest decree. Throughout Daniel's life, he had stopped what he was doing three times a day. He opened his windows and faced Jerusalem to pray. Daniel knew G-d had been faithful to him in the past, and trusted G-d to be with him through yet another trial.

Daniel continued praying three times each day, and it wasn't long before a group of the governors found Daniel praying to G-d for help. When they discovered Daniel praying, they went gleefully to report the matter to King Darius.

"King Darius," they asked, "didn't you make a law that forbids anyone to pray to any god or human except you for the next thirty days? Doesn't the law say that everyone who disobeys it will be thrown into a pit of lions?"

"Yes, that's the law I made," the king agreed. "Just like all written laws of the Medes and the Persians, it cannot be changed."

The men then told the king, "That Jew named Daniel, who was brought here as a captive, refuses to obey you or the law that you ordered to be written. He still prays to his G-d three times a day."1


Darryl paused, "Any questions?"

"Why didn't Daniel stop praying for a month?" Brian asked. "It doesn't make sense," he added, shaking his head.

Jamie became indignant. "What do you mean, not pray for a month! Daniel was an old man who loved G-d. G-d provided for him all of his life. He knew how his friends were spared in the fiery furnace. Why should he wimp out now and not pray!"

"Well, he could have at least kept the windows closed! He was asking for trouble when he left them open!" Brian shouted.

"If he closed the windows, he would have been showing fear of man's law. Besides, they knew Daniel so well they would have barged in on him when they knew it was his prayer time!" Jamie was very angry.

"All right, you two, settle down. You'll wake up the other campers," Elizabeth scolded them.

Darryl added, "I want to read a couple of verses from Solomon's dedication prayer of the temple of G-d in Jerusalem; it will explain why Daniel felt that it was important to pray facing Jerusalem.

'When they sin against you -- for there is no one who does not sin -- and you become angry with them and give them over to the enemy, who takes them captive to a land far away or near; and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captivity and say, 'We have sinned, we have done wrong and acted wickedly, and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their captivity where they were taken, and pray toward the land you gave their fathers, toward the city you have chosen and toward the temple I have built for your Name; then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their pleas, and uphold their cause. And forgive your people, who have sinned against you.' 2 Chronicles 6:36-39."

"Was there any reason why he prayed three times a day?" Brian asked.

"Yes, in Psalm 55 David said that he prayed evening, morning, and noon. Today in Jerusalem, the Jewish people pray at the Western Wall three times a day. The Western Wall was part of the retaining wall for the temple that was in existence at the time of Yeshua (Jesus).

"Before we get back to the lesson, I want to explain a few more things. It is important to understand the Medo-Persian legal system. You see, when a law is made in our country, it can be changed if necessary. However, if a law was made according to the Medes and the Persians, it could not be changed. There were no exceptions; even the King could not change a law that he made. King Darius spent the rest of the day looking for some way out of throwing Daniel into the lion's den, but he could not find a loophole. With that in mind, let's get back to the story."