Today’s Reading: Daniel 7-9
Today’s Reflection: Daniel 9:20-23
20) While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my plea before the LORD my God for the holy hill of my God, 21) while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the first, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice. 22) He made me understand, speaking with me and saying, “O Daniel, I have now come out to give you insight and understanding. 23) At the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out, and I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved. Therefore consider the word and understand the vision.
The book of Daniel is filled with many harrowing prophesies, many of which relate to our present day. Daniel often struggled in prayer as these mysteries were revealed to him. He asked for understanding and direction on what to do. On the occasion detailed in chapter 9, Daniel was praying to know when Israel and the scattered and enslaved Jewish peoples would be released from oppression and restored to being a kingdom. The Word says while he was still speaking, the angel Gabriel came to him with an answer to his prayers. Gabriel also told him that the moment he began praying a Word went out from the Lord on his behalf. This story gives us a behind the scenes look at how God responds to our prayers. God’s responses to Daniel’s prayer is:
Immediate: The moment Daniel began to pray, God’s instruction went out to His angelic host. The moment you begin to pray, things begin to happen. The divine machinery of deliverance and mercy goes into action. In fact, the Word tells us that before we even ask, God has prepared an answer for our prayers (Isaiah 65:24).
Isaiah 65:24 – Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.
You may be thinking, ‘well, God sure doesn’t always answer my prayers immediately’. There’s a reason it appears this way to us, and that leads into the second point.
Invisible: Though God went into action as soon as Daniel began praying, he wasn’t aware of anything happening. Like Daniel, our sight is limited to the physical world. What happens in the spiritual realm when we pray is outside of or beyond our awareness (except under special circumstances i.e. 2 Kings 6:8-23). So if the spiritual workings of God responding to our prayers don’t immediately affect our physical reality, we may think our prayers have not been heard or answered. Sometimes spiritual warfare can delay a response to prayer. Gabriel’s response to one of Daniel’s later prayers was delayed by one of satan’s angel’s trying to hold him back (Daniel 10:10-14). Sometimes a delayed response is part of God’s process in working with us to build our patience, to encourage us to persevere and be constant in prayer, and most importantly to strengthen our faith. Faith is about believing that which we cannot see (Hebrews 11:1). Just because you don’t see anything happening doesn’t mean God isn’t at work in your life.
Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Intimate: Gabriel told Daniel the reason he was there was because he was loved. This is why God attends to our prayers. It’s because He loves us. And the way He responds is out of love for us. Sometimes we see His response immediately because the situation warrants it. Sometimes there’s a delay because we need to mature and grow. Sometimes we receive what we ask for. Sometimes we don’t. Note that God’s response to us is individual, crafted to fit our personal needs—both for our petitions and for our spiritual growth. Regardless of the prayer request or the outcome, God’s response to us is driven by His love for us and His desire to see us in the kingdom with Him for all eternity.