“Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.” (Daniel 6:10) (“Chamber”: ‛allîyth (al-leeth’) עלּית also means a second story room, or an upper room.)
This entire chapter is a favorite Bible story of many often called “Daniel In The Lions’ Den”. It is the story of a righteous man who found favor with God, and was blessed and elevated to the highest office under the king. However, this did not set well with the other “presidents and princes” – the other royal appointees, so they plotted to have him killed, in so many words. (You can read the whole story in Daniel 6.)
I’m not going to retell the entire story here, as that is not the point of this writing. The focus here is in how Daniel chose to handle his dilemma. Certainly we could stop right here with the condensed version – the simple thought that, when forces seem set against you and you can see the freight train heading down the tracks, it’s time to get into some serious prayer. Certainly that is so!
However, my attention was drawn to several other aspects of prayer in this verse – 1) Daniel having his window open, 2) in his upper room, 3) facing Jerusalem. Why focus on these details and not simply the idea of praying for answers?
Let’s look at the “upper room” first. (This is one verse where KJV comes across a little vague, unless chamber meant upper room in the days of the KJV’s translation as common usage.) How greatly the upper room directs our attention, by way of reminder, to that final supper with Jesus and His disciples in a particular upper room before His arrest. It was there that He not only instituted the Eucharist, but also prayed His “High Priestly Prayer” concerning His will for the Church (See John 17.)
A significant moment of transition for humanity was taking place with these bestowals of Sacrament and a “last will and testament” prayer by our Lord Jesus! He would be “descending” into the events of His Passion, then “ascending” up through Resurrection and Ascension, working our Redemption.
After His ascension, a number of disciples “… returned … unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey. And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. (Acts 1:12-14)
So, prior to this initial bestowal of Baptism of the Holy Spirit, after Jesus’ ascension, we find the faithful once more gathered in an upper room, continuing in one accord in prayer and supplication – an upper room where a number of them abode.
Let’s take a somewhat symbolic direction with this. Let’s consider the idea that Daniel’s windows were open!
Open windows seem to speak of a complete openness of mind, heart, and will – a total surrender – to how God works something out where we may see ourselves as helpless, trapped, threatened, or challenged. At least that’s how we’re perceiving it… until we can surrender our ordinary thoughts and worries about it to the Presence and Will of God – that “upper room” where His Infinite Spirit reigns over our finite mental constructs about the situation (whatever that may be circumstantially).
So having our windows open in our upper room speaks to this writer as meaning a willingness to be elevated into God’s perspectives on things as we pray – no ego agendas! Only full surrender and trust that He will take us through something we may be perceiving as an impossible predicament where the deck may seem stacked against us.
All the royal advisors and appointees schemed to do away with Daniel. He was really in a bind. But he went higher, and he was open to what the Lord would do about it. He simply surrendered and trusted.
One more thing: Daniel’s view was “toward Jerusalem”, which means peace, completeness, wholeness, and unbrokenness. In this position, “facing Jerusalem”, Daniel held that vision of God’s peaceful, unbroken, whole, complete Good! He was elevated in the higher perspective of God’s Mind over the matter (symbolized by being in the upper room), was completely open to how God would work things out (the open windows), and holding the vision of God’s perfect will completed in his situation (symbolized by facing toward Jerusalem) turning things toward a life of abundant Good.
Every one of us can be inspired by Daniel’s prayer m.o. when encountering not only speed bumps on the Way, but also when challenges present themselves as pot holes or even craters that turn into lions’ dens! Daniel encourages us, especially in these challenging times, to abide continually (as did Peter, James, John and several others mentioned in Acts 1) in our upper room with our windows open facing Jerusalem.