READING: Daniel 10-12
Have you ever wondered why answers to prayer sometimes take a long time? In a series of verses that takes us mysteriously into the arena of spiritual warfare, today’s reading gives us one answer to this question about unanswered prayer.
Daniel had been grieving over the state of Jerusalem, he being so disconcerted that he mourned and ate no choice food for three weeks. Some of God’s people had returned to their city, but they were already facing opposition. The prophet even received another vision of a conflict that moved far beyond the earthly to the spiritual arena. Indeed, a heavenly messenger informed Daniel that he had been sent in response to Daniel’s humble words — but the “prince of Persia" got in the way: "Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia” (Dan 10:12-13).
Scholars debate who the prince of Persia was, but he was strong enough that the archangel Michael had to intervene in order to overcome his influence. It seems clear that the prince was a demonic force behind the Persian Empire, and he sought to thwart whatever God intended to accomplish. A demon apparently got in the way of Daniel’s receiving his answer to prayer.
This picture, alarming though it may be, should not frighten us. First, the demon was powerful enough to create a delay, but he wasn’t strong enough to stop God’s plan. Even demonically-caused delays aren’t outside the control of Almighty God.
Second, in the midst of this conflict, the heavenly being ministered to Daniel: “Do not be afraid . . . Peace! Be strong now; be strong” (Dan 10:19). In our weakest moments in spiritual battles, God grants us courage, peace, and strength.
Third, followers of God — that is, “everyone whose name is found written in the book” (Dan 12:1) — will ultimately be delivered. In God’s timing, we will awaken to everlasting life and “shine like the brightness of the heavens” (Dan 12:3). The enemy won’t stop God’s answers to prayer, and he most certainly won’t stop God’s plan for eternity.
We can trust our Father in our waiting periods because we know He’s already taken care of tomorrow.
- If you’re waiting on God to answer a prayer, just keep trusting. Don’t let the enemy discourage you with his arrows of worry and frustration.
- Whatever you’re facing today, hear God’s words: “Be strong now; be strong.”
PRAYER: “God, I’m trusting that You hear my prayers today even if Your apparent response time seems slow. I will not be afraid.”
TOMORROW¹S READING: Hosea 1-7