Daniel 10-12, Psalm 58
Approximately 1 year ago while on call I took care of a patient who developed a condition so rare that after 30 years of practice, though I have read about this I had never seen it before. So rare is it that only one other doctor in the hospital that day had ever seen it before. When it occurs it can prove rapidly fatal to the baby up to 95% of the time. When it occurs it happens without warning. Though I delivered the baby by Cesarean within 10 minutes the baby looked terrible, completely pale, not moving, needing support to breathe and the neonatal doctors were already talking about how they would try to preserve brain function. Heartbroken for the baby and the parents I tearfully went by myself into the locker room and prayed to God that he would miraculously turn this baby's condition around. 3 hours later I went up to the NICU and God answered. The baby was moving on his own, breathing without support eventually he was discharged on time with no problems. That day I explained to the patient that this was not due to me or the pediatric team but due to a miracle from God who faithfully answers prayers.
Besides a prophet, Daniel was a serious student of the Word and a man of prayer. When we pray, God can choose to respond in three ways: yes, no, or delay. In chapter 9 we see Daniel pray for about 3 minutes and he receives an immediate response. In Da 9:20-21, we read, "Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin...Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering." We read in the next chapter that Daniel was in prayer for 3 weeks waiting for a response. We read in Da 10:2-3, "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." We are told later in the chapter that the delay was due to fighting among angels and demons.
We can learn much from Daniel's example of prayer. First, he didn't just fit God in. He prepared himself and set himself apart without distractions. Next, he was honest in his prayers confessing openly his own faults and sin. We see that when he prayed he came expecting a dialogue not just giving a monologue. How often do we just squeeze our prayer time in, with little thought, throw out a bunch of requests and then don't even wait for a response but quickly re-enter our world of distractions which block out God. We next see that he was persistent. How many of us barely last 3 seconds, Daniel persisted for 3 weeks. What would have happened if Daniel stopped after less time. In Matthew 7:7-8, Jesus says, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek , and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." In the Greek in which it was written these verbs don't read: ask, seek and knock, but, keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking. We have a God who loves us who wants to communicate with us. The question is are we properly preparing our hearts in honesty, being persistent and expecting a response.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: