And behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees.11 And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you.” And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling. 12 Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. 13 The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, 14 and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come.” – Daniel 10:10-14
I first encountered this passage in 2003 when I was reading a book by John Eldridge, Waking the Dead. This was a particularly powerful and insightful book for me because I took the time to work through a companion workbook as I read it. It was my morning routine. It was, for me, a book more insightful even than Eldridge’s Wild at Heart.
The point that he made regarding this passage has to do with the spiritual battles that are raging all around us, and of which we are often unaware. God moves to answer our prayers the moment we voice them. But the answers do not always come as quickly to us as the answer is sent by God.
Here we have a look into the spiritual realm in which realities, powers, kingdoms, and dominions battle – often hidden from our view. All we see are the delays, complications, disappointments, and upheavals of daily life. Seldom do we imagine that angels are contending with one another – good versus evil angels; demons versus God’s host; principalities of evil versus God’s powers in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12).
Somehow the words of Daniel 10:12-13 opened my eyes to the outplaying of God’s answers to prayer. The angel was sent on the first day Daniel began to intercede for Israel and its people. But there are other forces in the world that must be contended with. Kings and kingdoms are set up and put down at God’s bidding. In the case of Israel’s captivity as well as their future deliverance, those would be accomplished by real kings in real time.
God seldom snaps his fingers and makes it so. More often the outworking of God’s will takes place over time. We have even a glimpse of why that is often so: God is patient and delays (in our minds and from our point of view) so that we and others may repent and come to faith in Jesus (2 Peter 3:9).
Next time you pray, and the answer does not appear immediately, consider how God may be working in someone else’s heart to get them to a better place before you are able to experience the fullness of his answer. And know this: When we pray, God acts.
God has things well in hand, and is working even now toward a consummation of his ultimate plan for all time and eternity – more often than not, behind the scenes – and he will prevail. He has shown that in Jesus’ resurrection and promised it in his word.