Summary: Have you ever had to pray and wait? I suppose this is one of life’s most difficult tasks
TEXT: Daniel 10:10-13, 18 (Read later)
INTRO: Have you ever had to pray and wait? I suppose this is one of life’s most difficult tasks. You see, we live in an "instant society". We have: Instant Cameras; Instant Potatoes; Instant Credit
We come QUICKLY to the drive up window, wanting QUICK FOODS, and demand QUICK SERVICE! Someone has said:
This is the age of the half-read page
And the quick bash, and the mad dash
The bright night with the nerves tight
The plane hop with the brief stop
The lamp tan in a short span
The big shot in a good spot
And the brain strain & the heart pain
And the cat naps, ’til the spring snaps
And the fun’s done!!
How many people I have talked with who tell me they don’t have time to slow down -- yet they reach a point where they are slowed down either by a physical or emotional problem. We wonder why we are in such a state of confusion and turmoil, when the answer is that we violate the principles of God’s Word regarding rest!
Mankind has the propensity to endeavor to work out his own problems. Rather than "Pray and Wait" our life’s motto seems to be "Pray and Work", or in the case of some "Pray and Whine".
We often take a lack of immediate response from God as a sign that God is either not listening, or not caring. This, my dear friend is most definitely not the case! I want to address this subject this morning in a message entitled "Delayed, Yet Definite". Turn with me please to Daniel chapter 10 where we find a great example of a seeming delayed answer to prayer. I believe there are many dynamics in this story which may help us get a clearer understanding of prayer. We will begin reading with verse 10: "But a hand touched me and lifted me, still trembling, to my hands and knees. 11And I heard his voice -- "O Daniel, greatly beloved of God," he said, "stand up and listen carefully to what I have to say to you, for God has sent me to you." So I stood up, still trembling with fear. 12Then he said, "Don’t be frightened, Daniel, for your request has been heard in heaven and was answered the very first day you began to fast before the Lord and pray for understanding; that very day I was sent here to you. 13But for twenty-one days the mighty Evil Spirit who overrules the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the top officers of the heavenly army, came to help me, so that I was able to break through these spirit rulers of Persia. 18Then the one who seemed to be a man touched me again, and I felt my strength returning. "God loves you very much," he said; "don’t be afraid! Calm yourself; be strong -- yes, strong!" Suddenly, as he spoke these words, I felt stronger ....."
Daniel, who’s name means "God is my judge" was a statesman in the court of heathen kings. Taken captive as a youth to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar in 605 BC, he spent the rest of his long life there as a governmental official and as a prophet of the true God.
Daniel is called a prophet by our Lord in Matthew 24:15, and his prophecies are of immense importance. The Book of Revelation is often referred to when dealing with "end time events". It is impossible, however to have a true understanding of what is to come without putting the book of Daniel alongside the book of Revelation. For the prophecies given Daniel are yet to be fulfilled.
We find in our text that Daniel had been given a series of visions regarding the end of the world as we know it. And, as is often the case the visions were not easily or readily understood. Therefore, Daniel began to fast and pray to the Lord regarding the significance of these visions. Eventually, God sent an angel to Daniel who said "I am here to tell you what is written in the ’Book of the Future’..." (v 20) But there was a waiting period between Daniel’s prayer and the answer. The passage tells us it was 21 long days. We find in this story:
I. GOD’S INCLINED EAR. (v 12)
Verse 12 states "Then he said, ’Don’t be frightened, Daniel, for your request has been heard in heaven ...."
I suppose one of the most wonderful things about our relationship with God is that He truly cares for His people! We find a beautiful image of this care in Psalms 40:1 "I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. "
Then in Psalms 18 we read 6"In my distress I called upon the LORD, And cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, And my cry for help before Him came into His ears."