Daniel’s Prayer

I’ve been thinking recently as to why we originally chose three weeks to pray. We started that way in 2009 when we embarked on our first 24/7 prayer vigil. There didn’t seem to be anything magical or all that significant about it. It seemed to make sense that we would end the Sunday before Thanksgiving before so many of students head home and the rest of us are going other places for the holiday. For some reason, I just felt that three weeks seemed like a reasonable amount of time for us to engage ourselves. Since we started that way; we’ve continued with that pattern ever since. Quite frankly, because the sign-ups for the prayer vigil have been pretty slow, I’ve been thinking that perhaps we need to change our strategy. Just this week, I was reminded of an incident from Daniel’s life recorded in the 10th chapter of his prophecy.

Daniel, we are told, would get down on his knees and pray three times a day. One day, as he read the book of Jeremiah, God showed him that the exile would come to an end after seventy years. Taking God at His word, he “turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting and in sackcloth and ashes” (Daniel 9:3). Daniel humbled himself and took it upon himself to confess the sins of his nation, interceding for mercy and forgiveness. He prayed passionately and with perseverance because he believed the firm promise of God. Three weeks later we find Daniel still persevering in prayer, fasting meat, wine and even body lotion! Eventually an angel appeared and told him, “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. But the prince of the Persian Kingdom resisted me twenty-one days” (Daniel 10:12-13).

In the book Red Moon Rising, which recounts the amazing movement of God through what is now called 24/7 Prayer, Pete Greig, speaking of Daniel’s prayer writes: Here we have a glimpse of the spiritual dimension that explains the need for persistence in prayer. It is not that God is slow to act, or that we are trying to persuade God (for prayer is laying hold of His highest willingness). Prayer requires persistence because it is also an act of warfare against “the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). Such prayer reverses the fall in which Adam asserted his independence. In it we say, “not my will, but yours be done.” We fight with God to liberate enemy-occupied territory, knowing that while the victory is certain, the length of the battle is not. (Red Moon Rising: 114).

There are many things happening as we pray these three weeks—drawing closer to God, taking time to listen to God, sacrificing for the needs of others, and engaging, as faithful brothers and sisters, in spiritual warfare. I am continually amazed at the power God places on our prayers.

If you have come to the prayer room to pray this week, thank you. Let me encourage you to come again. If you haven’t yet made your way to the prayer room, let me encourage you to do so. I am convinced that God will use your sacrifice of prayer for your sake and for the sake of all of us.