ANSWER to our PRAYERS may be DELAYED but never DENIED: 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; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia. Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come." (Dan 10:12-14)
The great Christian writer E. M. Bounds has made the following statement: “The story of every great Christian achievement is the history of answered prayer”. Daniel, a man greatly beloved of God, began to pray, mourn, and fast earnestly, and God’s messenger was sent to Daniel with the answer on the very first day Daniel started praying (v. 2). However, his answer was held up for 21 days by demonic armies who opposed God’s purposes. Leon Wood explains about this phenomenon in his commentary on Daniel as follows:
“The prince of Greece and the prince of Persia were demons who worked in those nations to oppose God’s people. Because Greece also would have a similar “prince” assigned to her in due time (v. 20), and God’s people would be under Greece’s jurisdiction following Persia’s fall to Greece, the suggestion seems reasonable that Satan often assigns special emissaries to influence governments against the people of God. Certainly this chapter has much to contribute regarding the nature of struggles between the higher powers in reference to God’s program on earth.”
In fact, the prince of the kingdom of Persia had detained this messenger for three weeks until Michael, one of the chief angelic princes, came to help him. What ensued was a spiritual battle in the heavenlies in which Michael was involved. Down on the earth, Daniel continued to fast, pray and intercede to God, but the answer was delayed by the demonic power that ruled over the kingdom of Persia. Finally, the revelation that Daniel received was only due his persistence in his prayers and supplications (see Luke 18:1-8a).
We need to understand that spiritual forces are at work behind the scenes in our personal, national, and international affairs. We need to ultimately realize that our struggles are ultimately with “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”. At the same time we should also be fully assured that “the one who is in us is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
There is always a spiritual battle taking place in the heavenlies (vv. 12–13, 20) as Apostle Paul has described so clearly: "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might...for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places...praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints." (Eph 6:10, 12, 18)
When we pray, we become a part of spiritual warfare, so we should not take our prayer time lightly. Our warfare is against the forces of darkness that are fighting against us. Let us keep on praying earnestly like Daniel by keeping on asking-seeking-knocking until we receive the answer from God according to His Word (see Matt. 7:7-11). The answer to our prayers may be delayed but never denied!