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Persistent Prayer

Daniel 10

The prophet Daniel was nothing if not a man of prayer. During his time of captivity in Babylon, while serving in the royal courts of Babylon and then Persia, it was his practice to pray toward Jerusalem three times a day (Daniel 6:10; see 2 Chronicles 6:38-39). We can learn from Daniel's prayer life that because prayers are answered differently we should be persistent in prayer even if our answers don't come immediately.

On one occasion, when Daniel realized that the Babylonian captivity was to last 70 years (Daniel 9:2), he prayed a lengthy prayer of confession and request for forgiveness for the Jews to God (Daniel 9:4-19). Before he even finished his prayer, the angel Gabriel arrived and said, "At the beginning of your supplication, the command went out, and I have come to tell you" (Daniel 9:23). Daniel's prayer was answered before he even finished praying.

On another occasion Daniel began praying about a vision he had received—he fasted and prayed ("mourning") for three weeks without receiving an answer (Daniel 10:1-2). At the end of three weeks of prayer a messenger from heaven appeared to Daniel to respond to his prayer. Like Gabriel in response to Daniel's previous prayer, this messenger was apparently dispatched quickly but he was delayed by a demonic opponent in the heavenly places (Daniel 10:12-13; see Ephesians 6:12). This opponent apparently sought to prevent Daniel's prayer from being answered. Only when the powerful angel Michael assisted the messenger in defeating the demon was the messenger able to make his way to Daniel in response to the prayer.

When we pray on earth we have no idea what activity is happening in heavenly places. For that reason, we should be persistent in prayer. Jesus taught as much in two different parables: one about the persistent host (Luke 11:5-8) and one about a shameless widow (Luke 18:1-8).

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