|Theme: Resistance to Prayer
|Focus on: Daniel
|Reading Portion(s): Daniel 10|
|– Important Background Information|
|– Helps you find strength in God|
|What this article teaches you|
| The first truth we are taught about prayer is that it is talking to God. Some years later we start using the term communion with God. But there are other dimensions to prayer too. One of them is that prayer is warfare. The truth is that prayer is closely watched by God and his angels. At the same time Satan and his fallen angels try to hinder prayer by discouraging the one who prays. They do it by resisting the answer to our prayers from reaching us.
Unseen and unknown to us there is war going on in the heavens. This should encourage us to persist in prayer. Understanding this truth should help us to keep our courage even when answers to prayers are delayed. It is not because God has not heard. He hears it the moment we start to pray. It is not because He does not answer. He surely answers prayer. But in many cases the delay is because of spiritual resistance. So we are players in a larger drama when we pray. So let us not be discouraged when answers to prayers are delayed. It will definitely come
We now really stand at a place in the Scriptures which throw light to war in the heavens. It is important to note that this kind of war is related to events on earth. Also the war between God’s kingdom and the kingdom of darkness is much interconnected with the life and progress of believers on earth.
We are told here that Daniel was given a revelation in the third year of Cyrus king of Persia. The message is affirmed as true and it concerned a great war. This happened at the end of a three week of special prayer by Daniel. He abstained from choice food and did not care much about physical appearance during those days. He was mourning.
What could have been the cause of Daniel’s sorrow? Bible scholars are agreed that he might have most probably been praying for the Jewish people. Daniel himself was now old and he was an exile in the land of Babylon now ruled by the Persian king, Cyrus. King Cyrus in the first year of his reign had issued an order allowing the Jews to return to their homeland and build a temple for God in Jerusalem. Many Jews had returned to Jerusalem following this proclamation. But they had to face much opposition in the rebuilding of the temple.
News of this might have reached Daniel. It was now two years after the king’s order was proclaimed and he was not in public office at that time. So Daniel might have devoted his time to seek God’s favor on behalf of God’s own people. This special time of prayer might have prepared his heart to be in a position to receive God’s revelation that came to him on the twenty-fourth day of the month.
On this particular day Daniel was standing on the banks of the river Tigris. When he looked up he saw a heavenly messenger full of majesty. Daniel alone saw this vision. The men who were with him did not see it; but they fled and hid because a great terror overwhelmed them. Daniel was left alone. His strength left him as he saw this great vision. His face turned deathly pale and he was helpless. And when the messenger spoke with the sound of a multitude Daniel fell into a deep sleep with his face to the ground.
Then a hand touched him and set Daniel trembling on his hands and knees. Then the messenger told Daniel that he was highly esteemed in God’s sight. He was asked to stand up and consider carefully the words he was about to speak to him.
The messenger told him not to be afraid. Daniel was told that even from the first day that he had started praying his prayer was heard. From the messengers words we come to know that Daniel had humbled himself to gain understanding. Most likely he might have prayed to understand the future of the Jewish nation. The messenger added that he had come in response to Daniel’s prayers.
Then the messenger says something to which we have only one or two glimpses in the entire Bible. The messenger said that even though Daniel’s prayer was heard in heaven instantly from the first day itself, the response was delayed for twenty-one days. This happened because the prince of the Persian kingdom had resisted this heavenly messenger for three weeks. The messenger then added that Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help him and therefore he was now able to come to Daniel. Now Daniel was going to be told about the future of his people and the vision that he was to be given would be fulfilled in all its detail only after a long time.
We also find the messenger proclaiming peace to Daniel, telling him once more that he was highly esteemed. Daniel is also given strength to listen to the message. The messenger tells Daniel that he had come to tell him about what is written in the Book of Truth. He adds that soon he will return to fight with the prince of Persia.
A few important truths about prayer emerge in this passage. The first thought is that when God’s children humble themselves to seek God in prayer, their prayers are heard from the very first day.
Secondly we find that God sends answers to prayers as soon as His children start to pray. God is pleased to give understanding to those who seek it in prayer. He often employs His messengers to carry these answers to His children who pray.
Thirdly we find that there is resistance to prayer in the heavens. We do not know exactly the nature of fight going on in the unseen world. But we can be sure that Satan and the other fallen angels are resisting God’s angels who come as messengers carrying answers to prayers.
Fourthly we come to understand that this resistance causes delay to the answers that God had given even at the beginning of our prayers. This understanding of truth that prayers can be delayed through resistance in the heavens is crucial to our praying. All this time of delay we should persevere in our prayers as Daniel did. He kept on praying and finally he was rewarded with a vision of the future that he might have never anticipated.
Finally, this incident recorded in the Bible should teach us that prayer is not simply communion and communication with God. It is something more. It is war. And when we pray we are engaged in a warfare in which even the angels are involved. There is resistance to prayer. Yet there is victory to those who pray. Let us pray with perseverance so that the resistance to our prayers may be overcome and God’s kingdom established on earth.