Darius the Mede emerged as the king of Babylon after slaying Belshazzar at the age of sixty-two. He appointed three officials to govern Babylon one of whom was Daniel. Daniel distinguished himself from the rest as “an excellent spirit was in him” and Darius planned for Daniel to govern his entire kingdom. Seeing this, the other officials sought to find fault in Daniel but to no avail. However when the king was persuaded by these officials to pass a decree stating that for thirty days whoever makes petition to any god or man, except to the king, shall be cast into the den of lions, they finally trapped Daniel.
Now, because it was the Medo-Persian government the king could not revoke the signed document but could only hope that ‘Daniel’s God’ would come to his rescue. Not only that, in the succeeding versus we read that the King refused dinner and entertainment that night and could not even sleep. Unknowingly King Darius was now praying to the God of Daniel. Early next morning he raced to the den in anticipation that his prayers had been answered and found exactly that when he saw Daniel perfectly unharmed sitting with the lions. This must have been a completely new experience for king Darius who all his life served many gods but never with such confidence anticipated a response. The interesting thing about all this is that he was unable to address God as his God. All he knew was that He is Daniel’s God.
How many people who live in association with us know that He is our God?
When people shouted with joy and welcomed Jesus crying Hosanna (Lk 19:40) Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out. If we do not pray for the spreading of Gospel and protection of those who are sowing the Word, God will raise up somebody to pray.
In the book of Acts (12:12-15), a crowd of believers gathered together and prayed all through the night for Peter who was in prison at that time. Though they were praying, they were unable to believe that Peter himself was standing at their doorsteps. It means that they thought Herod would definitely have him killed. This shows with what little faith they were praying. In contrast we see king Darius’ reaction who was a gentile.
The book of Acts sees persecution as a source for God’s people to spread out and in turn disseminate the Gospel (Acts 8:1). Moreover it views persecution as an important tool for Christians to come together and pray in one accord forgetting their doctrines and denominations.
Daniel’s hour of persecution changed not only King Darius’ life but also King Cyrus’. The persecution of the apostles in the book of Acts brought together the church (body of Christ) to pray in one accord.