Friday, September 27, 2013

Prayer—fighting the darkness

robed and hooded warrior holding a sword
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Daniel 10:1-11:2

TO CHEW ON: "Then he said to me, 'Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the Kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days.'" Daniel 10:12,13

Daniel 10 tells the interesting story of Daniel spending a considerable time in mourning-prayer and fasting as he seeks to understand a message he has received.  After three full weeks he gets a heavenly visitor, a "man"—obviously an angel (Daniel 10:5-6)—who appears to him and says, "...from the first day that you set your heart to understand, your words were heard..."

So why does this angel wait three weeks before coming?

Because he himself was  tied up, fighting spiritual forces (Daniel 10:13).

The writer of my Bible's notes on Daniel explains this section:

"This is one of the clearest OT examples that demonic armies oppose God's purposes and that earthly struggles often reflect what is happening in the heavenlies, and that prayer with fasting may affect the outcome" - Coleman Cox Phillips, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1136 (emphasis added).

What does this glimpse into the spiritual realm mean for us? Dick Eastman in his book Love On Its Knees makes the following points about the Christian's mission, and fighting spiritual resistance with prayer:
1. "It is God's desire to see every person on earth provided access to the Gospel of Jesus Christ... (2 Peter 3:9; Mark 13:10; Matthew 24:14).

2. "It is Satan's plan to prevent every unbeliever from receiving access to the Gospel of Jesus Christ... (2 Timothy 2:25-26; Ephesians 2:1,2).

3. "It is the Church's duty to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every person on earth ... (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15).

4. "It is the intercessor's responsibility to hold back the unseen forces of satanic darkness wherever the Gospel of Jesus Christ is shared ... (Ephesians 6:10-12; 2 Thessalonians 3:1,2).

"... intercessors who contend for lost souls do indeed help add names to the Lamb's Book of Life. They may not be aware that they are sweeping through the heavenlies on their knees, or that they are contending against the darkness for a soul who has just been confronted with the claims of Christ, but their prayers make the harvest possible." - Dick Eastman, excerpts from Love On Its Knees, pages 166-171).

We don't need to know the names or territories of the demonic forces we fight, but being aware that our prayers are Kingdom warfare, and that spiritual battles take time is crucial, I believe, to our preparedness and perseverance.

PRAYER:
Dear God, please convict me of the importance and effectiveness of intercessory prayer for the advancement of Your Kingdom. Help me not to be discouraged when the answers take long time to come. Amen.

MORE: Prayer is...

"Prayer is God's supreme gift to assist the Church in establishing His Kingdom throughout the earth" - Dick Eastman, Love On Its Knees, p. 161.
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New King James Version (NKJV) Used with permission. The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
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