Today's Devotions

Showcase: Forgiveness

  • Total Forgiveness, RT Kendall +

    This was a valuable resource for me in a time of hurt from a brother in Christ. I could not Read More
  • Forgiveness: Desmond Tutu +

    Nobel Peace Prize Winner Desmond Tutu explains how love and forgiveness kept post-apartheid South Africa from tumbling into anarchy. Read More
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piperlargeIn Daniel 10, the prophet receives a word from the Lord (v. 1) -a vision of conflict that stunned him with its greatness. So Daniel set himself with tears and fasting and prayer to seek the meaning of the vision, and for three weeks he wrestled in prayer over this vision and sought to know God's will.

After three weeks he went out to the banks of the Tigris River (v.4). There he had a vision that was so awesome he could hardly bear it. To make matters worse (in v. 10), a hand reached out and touched him so that he shook terribly on his hands and knees. Then the voice said (vv. 11-12): "O Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you.... Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words."

Now this is immensely important for understanding prayer.Notice the words: "I have come because of your words." Putthat together with the words in verse 11: "I have been sent to you." That is, God sent him. So the point is that God answered Daniel's prayer as soon as he began to pray three weeks ago."From the first day that you humbled yourself before your God your words [your prayers] have been heard, and I have come because of your words [your prayer]."

So this heavenly being has come because Daniel prayed and humbled himself before God and fasted. And the three-week delay was not because God took three weeks to hear. What was it then?

Verse 13: "The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me." The reason the messenger of God was detained is because a spiritual being called "the prince of the kingdom of Persia" stood against him. And the reason this angelic messenger got free from this opposition was because the angel Michael came to help him.

This is the clearest example in all the Bible of what is called by some people a "territorial spirit." Verse 13 refers to "the prince of the kingdom of Persia." The natural meaning of this phrase would be that among the supernatural beings opposed to God,at least one is assigned to a territory or, more accurately, to a kingdom, in this case Persia. Presumably his job is to darken the people of Persia - to keep them from having the truth and the light of God's Word.

But this spirit is not the only one mentioned. Look at verse 20-21: "Then he [the messenger from God] said, 'Do you know why I have come to you? But now I will return to fight against the prince of Persia; and when I go out, behold, the prince ofGreece will come. But I will tell you what is inscribed in the book of truth: there is none who contends by my side against these except Michael, your prince.'"

So it appears that there was a spirit over Persia and a spirit over Greece. But it also seems that Michael, the good angel, has some special assignment for Israel, because it says at theend of verse 21: "Michael, your prince." And the "your" there is plural. This is not a reference to Daniel's guardian angel, but to Israel's guardian angel.

How then shall we do ministry in view of this reality of territorial spirits? First, we ought to take the supernatural seriously andrealize that we are in a warfare that cannot and should not be domesticated by reinterpreting everything in the biblical world view so that it fits nicely with secular, naturalistic ways of thinking about the world. Secondly, notice that Daniel's prayer that has such powerful effects in the spiritual realm did not focus on angels and territorial spirits. Rather, he was wrestling for truth and for the good of God's people. He was totally shocked when an angel appeared to him. And he knew nothing about the conflict with the prince of the kingdom of Persia.

But it's no accident that the messenger said that his struggle with the prince of Persia lasted exactly the same amount of time that Daniel's fasting and prayer did - twenty-one days. The reason for this is that the warfare in the spirit realm was being fought in a real sense by Daniel in the prayer realm.

And so it is with more of our prayers than we realize. But the point is this: Daniel's praying was not about angels. And probably ours shouldn't be either. We should wrestle in prayer and fasting for the things that we know are God's will in our lives and our families and our church and our city and our world. But by and large we should probably leave it to God how He will use  angels to get His work done. If God shows us more, we will use it. But the essence of the matter is not knowing the spirits but knowing God and praying in the power of Holy Spirit.

So let us be about prayer with all our might. May the Lord makeus a people who pray like Daniel.

Reflections to Consider

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Audio & Video

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  • Prayer by Alex Kirk, Chatham Community Church +

    What role does prayer play in our lives? What is prayer, anyway? Alex Kirk, pastor of Chatham Community Church, gives Read More
  • How to be Mary in a Martha world by Jim Abrahamson, Chatham Community Church +

    Jim Abrahamson spoke at Chatham Community Church on an essential of the Christian walk Who/what is our savior? What is Read More
  • Christ the King Sunday by Art Going (Holy Trinity Chatham) +

    A thoughtful discussion of how we function as colonizers for Christ the King.  Read More
  • MY STUPID MOUTH by Steve Tamayo of Chatham Community Church +

    Tremendous sermon on the liabilities of our tongue, both in what we say and don't say. Read More
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Hidden Blessings

  • My Soul Cries Out in Worship +

    Over the past ten years, Vicki Yohe has written some of the most popular songs sung in churches. This song Read More
  • Worship Matters: A blog by Bob Kauflin +

    Worship Matters is a blog by Bob Kauflin. Good, inspired food for one's soul. Read More
  • Worship Wars in Bethany +

    Jim Abrahamson preached on the worship wars in Bethany in 2003. Read More
  • The Greatest Treasure Remains: Come, Now is the Time for Worship +

    Come, now is the time to worship Read More
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