GETTING THE MESSAGE/Prayer is the pulse of the soul
These verses in Daniel Chapter 10 give us some insight into the spiritual realm that is unseen. The world we live in is full of conflict and trouble, but there is a great conflict beyond what we see that affects our world.
In verse 10, Daniel is awakened out of deep sleep by the touch of an angel. Daniel is still shaken by the vision of the Lord he had seen (verse 6) but is given encouragement by the angel. He tells Daniel he has come because of Daniel’s humble prayers before the Lord. Daniel had been fervently praying for the Jews in Jerusalem who were facing opposition in the rebuilding of the city and the temple.
The angel shares some mysterious news. He was held up by the “prince of the kingdom of Persia” for 21 days. This prince was obviously not a man. No man can hold up a powerful angel. This was satanic opposition. The people of God were not only facing human opposition in the rebuilding of Jerusalem, but powerful spiritual beings behind the scenes.
The sovereignty of God is emphasized throughout the prophecies of Daniel. God will accomplish His purpose in the redemption of man to His own glory. Nevertheless, the Lord has accorded to the enemies of His kingdom powers of obstruction, which often results in tribulation and distress among God’s people on earth.
In chapter 7 the forces of ant-christ will “wear out the saints.” In chapter 8, the worship of the Lord is corrupted by an evil ruler. Here in chapter 10 the powers behind the opposition to building the church are revealed to us. Christians are to be aware of the devil, and remember what they have been delivered from by the Lord Jesus.
In Ephesians 2 Paul says to Christians, “You were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.”
To be dead in sin is to have no spiritual life. It is God who makes men alive in Christ Jesus. The “world” doesn’t mean the physical world you see around you. It points to a mentality, an organization of one’s life apart from the truth and glory of God. Christians are called by God out of the world in that sense. They are redeemed to honor God with their lives.
The prince of the power of the air is the devil. Paul says that all men “follow” the devil. All men are not alike in the degree of their sinfulness, but all are blinded by the devil to their rebellion against God. The devil is subtle. He persuades men that they are wise and at the same time dominates their being. For this reason Christ commands men to follow Him: “My sheep hear my voice and follow me.”
You do not want to be on the wrong side of this conflict. Make sure you are following Christ, and remember that Christians will face demonic opposition in their walk with Christ. There is no salvation without strife and struggle.
This passage teaches us the value of prayer in this struggle. Daniel prayed for 21 days (verse 3), and the angel was helped after 21 days (verse 13). Daniel was participating in this great conflict through prayer, though he was unaware of it at the time.
God has ordained prayer as a necessary means in the building of His church and the perseverance of His people in the faith. Daniel was stirred up to pray fervently and humbly because he knew only God could help the problems the Jews were facing in Jerusalem.
We see this type of crying out to God by His people throughout Scripture. In Psalm 130 we read, “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.” He was concerned over his soul. He contemplated his sins and knew he couldn’t stand before God. So he prays for forgiveness. Paul says the widow who is alone prays day and night to God because she depends upon Him.
God hears such prayers and responds to them. Proud, perfunctory prayers are not regarded by God. Observe that Daniel was much in prayer about God’s kingdom and people, and Daniel was greatly loved (verse 19). Philip Henry wrote: “Prayer is the pulse of the soul. As prayer beats, so we may judge the soul to be sick or well.”