In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a message was revealed to Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar. The message was true, but the appointed time was long; and he understood the message, and had understanding of the vision. In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled. Now on the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, that is, the Tigris, I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen, whose waist was girded with gold of Uphaz! His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in color, and the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude. And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision; but a great terror fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. Therefore I was left alone when I saw this great vision, and no strength remained in me; for my vigor was turned to frailty in me, and I retained no strength. Yet I heard the sound of his words; and while I heard the sound of his words I was in a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground. Prophecies Concerning Persia and Greece10 Suddenly, a hand touched me, which made me tremble on my knees and on the palms of my hands. And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.” While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling. 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.”
- Daniel 10:1-14 (NIV)
Through a reading and rereading of this passage over the years, I have come to understand that our God is a God of process. Until we understand that, we are like frustrated children stomping our feet and asking “Are we there yet?!” Let me break down this chapter with you. We see it broken down in three parts: ‘The Prayer Submitted’, ‘The Prayer Answered’, and ‘The Prayer Fulfulled’. Daniel made his prayer known, then he waited and waited. Daniel didn’t receive so much as an “out of the office” for 21 days...just silent heavens. His need was great and his heart was heavy. If it were me, I would have given up on day 2. But Daniel didn’t move, he remained in a posture of prayer. Instead of giving up, he dug deeper and silenced the distractions around him in order to hear the voice of God. He didn’t just kneel in prayer - he sought to understand and be humbled. I wonder what God could do through my prayers if I were to submit them in humility and from a desire to understand, rather than a complaint of my circumstance. Notice that the answer was not the same thing as the fulfillment. We sometimes mistake an answer for fulfillment. So be like Daniel in your fervent prayers - wait patiently even when it hurts.
Question: Where is your patience after you’ve submitted your prayer?
Challenge: Through this time of fasting and journaling, write your prayers and record Holy Spirit’s response. Even write the date! As you continue in this habit of journaling beyond this fast, look back at these writings to see and thank God for those promises and prayers answered.
Holy Spirit, help me remain in a posture of prayer, even when I am anxious for your answer. Help me to lean on my faith trusting that you have heard and the answer is on its way. Help me to listen with a humble and teachable spirit and help me have the patience to see the fulfillment of your word as I hold fast to your promises. Amen