Let's now examine Daniel 6:10--one phrase at a time--and be both encouraged and instructed by this faithful man of prayer!
"Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home"
Daniel would abide by man's law so long as it did not interfere with the performance of sacred duty. God expects humans to "be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God" (Rom. 13:1). But, now there is a conflict for Daniel. His conscience would not allow him to submit to this law of man for it would be wrong for him to stop praying to Jehovah. He knew it was not right to listen to men more than God; he knew he must obey God rather than men (cf. Acts 4:19; 5:29). Daniel knew the decree and the punishment for violating it. The actions he took were not done in ignorance. Rather, he would act consistently and in harmony with his allegiance to a King more powerful than Darius.
"And in his upper room"
Daniel was going to pray privately to his God. I'm reminded of Matthew 6:6, where Jesus instructed - "But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly." Friends, how much praying do we do alone? I'm inclined to think that we don't pray enough to our Father.
"With his windows open"
Now wait a minute, Stephen, I thought you said this was a private prayer. It was private in the sense that Daniel was not praying loudly or shouting for others to hear him. The communication itself was private, but not the fact that he was a man of prayer. Daniel was courageous enough that he did not hide his devotion to God. What about us? He was not praying to be seen (i.e., in order to be praised of men), but he was not afraid for others to see him pray, even in view of the king's decree. Nothing we do is to be done for self-glorification or to be seen by men. Those who do such have no other reward (cf. Matt. 6:1,2). However, neither are we to hide our lights under a bushel but rather let our lights so shine before men, that they might see our good works and give glory to the heavenly Father (cf. Matt. 5:14-16). Daniel's behavior, no doubt, was an encouragement to other Hebrews who were striving to be faithful in a foreign land.
The temple of God was at Jerusalem (though at that point in history it was in ruins). At its dedication Solomon referred time and again to the fact that God's people would pray toward this place (cf. I Kings 8:28-30). That's what Daniel was doing. Daniel was in Babylon, but he had not adopted the gods of the Babylonians. Prayer must be properly directed! Such is still true today. We must pray to God, not to Mary or some saint. I Timothy 2:5 teaches - "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Jesus Christ." As Paul said in Ephesians 3:14 - "For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." Note also Jesus' example in Matthew 6:9.
We will conclude this study in our next lesson.