After Darius signed a decree which said that anyone praying to any god but Darius should be thrown into the Lion's den, Daniel goes and prays anyway.

Daniel 6:10-11 ESV When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God.

The author seems to go to great effort to show that Daniel didn't care about being caught, and that he may have even been encouraging it. Why else would the author state that Daniel knew the decree had been signed and that he went to a room that had windows opened towards Jerusalem, apparently to pray towards it.

What was the big deal about praying towards Jerusalem, and why was it so important that Daniel would be willing to die for it?

He could have prayed silently, or towards Jerusalem with the windows closed, or any other combination of non-law breaking things.

Daniel had been a fantastic rule follower up until that point, and he had proved himself to be smart to enough to work his way around the rules, and he certainly had the power and authority to do what he wanted. He seems to draw some sort of line here and state "I would rather die than pray in any way other than towards Jerusalem with the window open." Why?

To prevent this question from being opinion based I want to know what popular Christendom has had to say about this. Sole biblical basis is preferred.

  • Note that Chapters 1-6's authorship is not generally attributed to Daniel. See here.
    – Flimzy
    Dec 15, 2014 at 13:29
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    @curiousdannii I have a feeling it was more than that....
    – LCIII
    Dec 15, 2014 at 14:04
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    This question seems to be based on an unsubstantiated (and I believe, bogus) assumption that the direction of the prayer had anything to do with this other than good story-telling. I don't see a shred of evidence in the text that the direction mattered.
    – Caleb
    Dec 15, 2014 at 14:08
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    Maybe I Kings 8: 44 (and other verses) had something to do with it. Jews and even some Christians still keep the custom. Mohammed did it until the Jews told him he was not a Jew and he rejected Jerusalem. There is a lot of material available on the subject. Dec 15, 2014 at 18:58
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    @LCIII Please prove that the direction is important.
    – curiousdannii
    Dec 16, 2014 at 2:20

5 Answers 5


After further study, I'd like to add to LoveTheFaith's well-quoted verse.

In the same prayer, Solomon also appear to have prophesied that the Jewish nation would be carried captive by their enemies due to their disobedience. Solomon foretold that the people would after repent and pray toward Jerusalem in their desire for deliverance and to return home, and the Lord would hear them.

Daniel may have recognized this prayer as prophetic and prayed accordingly.

(1 King 8:46-49)

46 “When they sin against You (for there is no one who does not sin), and You become angry with them and deliver them to the enemy, and they take them captive to the land of the enemy, far or near;

47 yet when they come to themselves in the land where they were carried captive, and repent, and make supplication to You in the land of those who took them captive, saying, ‘We have sinned and done wrong, we have committed wickedness’;

48 and when they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies who led them away captive, and pray to You toward their land which You gave to their fathers, the city which You have chosen and the temple which I have built for Your name: 49 then hear in heaven Your dwelling place their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause


I can think of at least one good reason why Daniel faced towards Jerusalem while praying.

Solomon made this prayer as part of the dedication of the temple -

"And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant and of thy people Israel, when they pray toward this place; yea, hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place; and when thou hearest, forgive" - 1 Kings 8:30


At the inauguration of the temple, Solomon instructed the people to pray toward the temple (see 1 Kings 8:35, 38, 44, 48). David seems to have practiced the same principle (see Ps. 5:7, Ps. 28:2). Jerusalem became the locus of God’s presence because the temple stood there. Hence, such a gesture symbolized commitment to Yahweh, the God who chose Jerusalem as the place where He would put His name. Moreover, Daniel hoped for the restoration of Jerusalem as the fulfillment of the covenant promises (Jeremiah 31 and Ezekiel 36). Daniel was a resident alien in Babylon; his true citizenship was in Jerusalem.


The ark of the Covenant was still present in Jerusalem, therefore it was necessary to pray facing towards the ark of the covenant in Jerusalem which was not stolen similarly to the other artifacts

"Also, the gold and silver articles of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, are to be returned to their places in the temple in Jerusalem; they are to be deposited in the house of God" Ezra 6:5


Well to me it's just simple that he wanted to be as open as possible about his faith and as an appointed Leader, by God, he knew he needed to represent other Christians. It's as simple as why did the chicken cross the road.

  • I hate to downvote your first post, but it is lacking in substance, and asserts that Daniel wanted to represent Christians (despite him living several hundred years before Christ). It doesn't answer the question, and is presenting misinformation. Aug 31, 2018 at 4:13

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