Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to worship the golden idol that King Nebuchadnezzar set up. (Try coming up with a sentence with four crazier names.) The consequence of this was that they were to be thrown into a furnace, one that was burning so hot it killed the men who were to carry out this deed. But on the way to their almost-certain death, these three men talk to Nebuchadnezzar as he presses them to worship false gods.
King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. (Daniel 3, NIV)
It is amazing to me that these three have such confidence before a furious king. And their confidence is not in their comfort or safety. Whether they live, because God delivers them, or they die they still have confidence that God is the one God, and nothing else is deserving of worship. They do not worship God because he blesses them, they worship him because he is God. He deserves it. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego won’t dishonor God in such a way, and they want the king to be aware of their devotion. They serve God and they do so even if he won’t deliver them.
That is a difficult prayer for us to make as we always want God to see things our way and help us out in a bind. But we need to seek to honor him no matter how situations turn out for us. We need to finish our prayer with our own version of “even if he does not”, and a good one is taken from Jesus who prayed just before his great suffering, “not my will but yours be done.”