Daniel 10:12 Then he continued, “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.”
This is an extremely important passage for understanding prayer. In the first place, it reinforces the truth expressed throughout the Bible that humility is the proper attitude for prayer. Arrogance is heard, but doesn’t get the desired response! In the second place, it teaches us the very important truth that just because the answer seems delayed, that doesn’t mean our prayers haven’t been heard favorably. It’s interesting that English, Japanese, and Hebrew all speak of prayers being “heard,” when actually God hears everything. A more accurate term would perhaps be “received.” Prayers that don’t stem from a right attitude “pile up on the loading dock,” so to speak, and are not really received. The whole matter of timing is an important one for us, since we live in the flow of time. However, God is outside that flow, which is why Jesus is “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,” (Revelation 13:8) even though the cross was at a specific moment in history. We could say that from God’s viewpoint, prayers are always answered instantaneously! That’s one of the mysteries of prayer. We may never know the reasons for seeming delays in answers to prayer, but we do know that God uses those delays to grow and strengthen our faith. In the great discussion of faith in Hebrews 11 it points out that sometimes we die physically without seeing the answers to prayer for which we have believed. (Hebrews 11:39-40) God is ultimately more interested in our character than our comfort, but that doesn’t mean He’s stingy about answering prayer, because He is a good Father who delights to bless His children.
One area of prayer which I am still learning is the balance between faith and persistence. Jesus said “Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:24) However, He also told the story of the persistent widow, and Luke specifically says that He did so to “show His disciples that they should always pray and not give up.” (Luke 18:1-8) I am to pray persistently, but not doubting that I have been heard. Recent events in this church should help me understand this, as God has brought resolution to various vexing situations. I am to rejoice that God indeed hears humble, believing prayer, and delight to exercise the privilege of prayer and lead other to do likewise, so that God’s will may be done in and through us, for His glory.
Father, thank You for this reminder and clarification. Guide me as I communicate this gracious reality to the believers. May they too delight in intimacy with You through prayer, so that we may be the body of believers that You desire, fulfilling Your purposes for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!