Daniel has been a captive in Babylon for decades and is now serving at the pleasure of King Cyrus, the third king to rule since Daniel arrived. Daniel has stood in faith year after year, decade after decade and has prayed for his people, the Jews, to be able to return to their homeland. Things have been changing in the kingdom and just when it seems their prayers may be answered, Daniel has a vision. The vision, predicts even more war and hardship for his people; it is so disturbing and unsettling that he goes on a 21 day fast to seek God’s help. At the end of the fast, Daniel has another vision in which an angelic being (believed by many scholars to be the pre-incarnate Jesus) speaks to him and tells him he has come to help. The messenger tells Daniel that from the very first day he prayed and humbled himself before God, his prayers were heard in heaven. But for 21 days the messenger was detained by spiritual forces that prevented him from arriving sooner. Daniel was unaware of the spiritual battle that was underway on his behalf. He could not see with his physical eyes that God was at work. Daniel was exhausted and could no longer stand, but the message he received renewed his heart and mind and helped him to continue standing in faith.
Dan. 10:5-13, 17-19; 2 Cor. 12:9
And the man said to me, “Daniel, you are very precious to God so listen carefully to what I have to say to you. Stand up, for I have been sent to you.”… (Dan. 10:11) Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer.” (Dan. 10:12)
When our prayers go unanswered and our strength fails, standing in faith can be hard. We can draw strength from Daniel’s experience by remembering: (1) We are precious to God. God loves us more than we can imagine, more than we love ourselves. (2) God is doing more than we understand. God is at work. Even though Daniel didn’t see any results, God heard his prayer the first day that he prayed and humbled himself. God is doing more than we can see. There is a battle in the spiritual world and we can rest assured that the kingdom of light will overcome the kingdom of darkness. (3) God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. When you are at your weakest point, you are the strongest; not by your own power, but by God’s power. In our greatest weakness God’s power become the most real. Keep praying, keep believing; stand in faith. God hears, God knows, and God is working in ways we cannot see or understand. Trust him; know that he wants the best for you. God is not finished yet.
When have you seen prayer answered very quickly? When have you seen prayer answered after many years of praying and believing? What are you asking of God for which no answer has come? Have you given up on a prayer? What keeps you from giving up on a prayer? How do you find strength for the long haul? Is it hard for you to trust that God is working even when you cannot see any results? How can our ability, or lack of it, in perceiving the natural world vs. the spiritual world hold us down in our faith?
Trust that God is at work on your behalf even when you cannot see it in the natural world. Write down the prayers that you have been praying for a long time for which no answer has come. Continue to pray and believe that God hears and is working for your good.
Father in Heaven, thank you for hearing my prayers. Give me strength to continue in faith believing that you are working for the good of those who love you, working for my good, even when I cannot see it. Renew my strength. Help me to draw close to you so that I can feel the power of your presence. I want to feel your arms around me. Lift me up. Lead me, guide me; direct my steps. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.