“So King Darius signed the law.
But though Daniel knew about it, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs bedroom, with its windows open toward Jerusalem, and prayed three times a day, just as he always had, giving thanks to his God” (Daniel 6:9-10, The Living Bible).
Essentially, the law that King Darius signed made it illegal to worship any other god other than the king. Disobedience meant punishment by death. Death meant being thrown into a den of lions to be torn apart and eaten. No one was exempt.
But Daniel did as he had always done, threw open the windows toward Jerusalem, and prayed to the one true God anyway, just as he had always done. His was a personal, but not private, faith.
One of the chief arguments against Christianity is the fact that churches are full of hypocrites — people who talk one way, and live another. They present one face at church, another at home, and yet another at work. But Daniel was a man of integrity. That meant that he was the same when no one was watching as he was when all eyes were on him. He wasn’t perfect, but his walk matched his talk.
It occurred to me that Daniel could very easily have continued to pray and evaded being caught if he had simply closed his windows. No one could have looked in on him during his intercession with God. No one would have been the wiser.
But Daniel chose to pray in the open. He didn’t parade his faith like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, but neither did he hide it. He didn’t make a show of his prayer life, but neither did he keep it a secret.
When we say we follow Jesus, it should show up in our lives. We should be different — not obnoxious and arrogant, but also not identical and undistinguishable from the world around us.
But will we still pray when it becomes illegal? Will we still give to the church when it becomes non-tax deductible? Will we still follow Jesus when it’s no longer socially acceptable to hold His exclusive claims?
Brennan Manning once said, ““The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”
The greatest witness we can give is simply living out what we profess to believe and not being jerks about it. When we live out our faith, regardless of the cost, people will see Jesus and be drawn to what they see.