“Do not be afraid, Daniel. 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
Daniel 10:12, NIV
Daniel needed help. God had given him a vision, but he didn’t understand it. He knew that it was from the Lord and he was desperate for God’s explanation. For Daniel, hearing and understanding what the Lord was saying had been literally a matter of life and death as he had interpreted the writing on the wall at Belshazzar’s feast and been saved through the agency of angels from the mouths of hungry lions. He knew through hard experience that God hears and answers prayers and that the most important thing in his life was God’s answers to his prayers.
And so it should be for us. What God is speaking into each one of our lives is of the greatest possible importance and can, indeed, be for us a matter of life and death. We need to grow in our understanding of the ways of God and learn to recognise the voice of God when He is speaking to us – through His written Word or through His voice speaking into our spirit or, even, through dreams and visions as had become Daniel’s experience.
But on this occasion, even though Daniel had prayed, it seemed as though God’s answer was slow in coming and he was getting desperate. Three weeks earlier Daniel had been given a revelation from God (verse 1). But what did it mean? He needed to know. Immediately Daniel set his heart on gaining understanding from the Lord and chose to fast and pray. Three weeks passed before God’s answer came in the form of an angelic vision in which the angel told Daniel there had been war in the heavenlies and the prince of the Persian kingdom had tried to stop him bringing God’s answer to Daniel’s prayers for twenty-one days (verse 13).
But the answer had been on its way, the Scripture tells us, since the first day that Daniel had set his mind to gain understanding and to humble himself before the Lord. Here are two vital keys to answered prayer. Pride says ‘I know best’ – and it’s so easy when looking for guidance to fall into the trap of telling God what He should be doing and then waiting for God’s confirmation that He has agreed with our way of thinking! Humility says ‘I first need to hear what God is saying – I need His understanding of the situation. Only then can I move forward in faith and trust.’
But when we do humble ourselves and wait on God for His answers before acting, the answer may be a little while in coming – for various reasons. God may be testing our faith and our willingness not to rush ahead. There may be an issue of God’s timing – He knows, sometimes, that if we have His answer too soon we may rush ahead impetuously before the time is right for action. And there may be times like this one with Daniel, where God’s answer is held up through spiritual warfare in the heavenly realms. All of these are possible.
Humbling ourselves and waiting for God’s answer to our prayers is essential if we are not going to get blown off the course God has prepared for our lives.
Prayer: Thank You Lord that You delight to hear and answer our prayers. Thank You for the lessons we can learn from the life of Daniel. Help us to be like Daniel and, when we are in need of clear guidance for our lives, to humble ourselves and set our hearts to get your understanding, knowing that in this way You will rejoice to hear and to answer our prayers. In Jesus’s Name. Amen.