God is faithful (1 Cor. 1:9; 10:13; 2 Cor.1:18). This fact can be observed in His promise concerning the seed of the woman (Gen. 3:15), His word that He would never again destroy the earth with a flood (9:15), and His limiting the time of captivity of the children of Israel in Babylon to seventy years (Jer. 25:11-12; 29:10; Dan. 9:2). We must see that on the one hand, these cases show that every promise made by our God has either been or will be fulfilled. On the other hand, God requires the cooperation of His people in order to fulfill His promises. For instance, God needed Mary and Joseph to cooperate with Him for the bringing forth of Christ as the seed of the woman (Matt. 1:18-25). Moreover, He also needed Daniel, one of His faithful overcomers, to pray persistently so that His word to Jeremiah regarding the captivity of Israel would be fulfilled (Dan. 9:2-19). Like Mary, Joseph, and Daniel, all the believers today should cooperate with God for the accomplishment of His purpose. As observed in the case with Daniel, prayer is one of the most effective ways to cooperate with God so that He can fulfill His promises and accomplish His heart’s desire.
The Bible speaks much concerning prayer. For instance, it speaks of not only how we should pray but also for what we should pray (Matt. 6:5-6, 9-13). Whereas there is much to be said concerning prayer, this post will focus on one aspect of prayer that may escape us—the need for persistence in prayer.
In Luke 18, the Lord Jesus encourages His disciples to pray by using a parable concerning a widow who incessantly bothers an unrighteous judge to avenge her of her opponent (vv. 1-8). The Lord’s speaking in these verses presents two particular points: 1) we need to pray continually, and 2) there is an adversary who must be judged. In Daniel’s case, he prayed for twenty-one days before the Lord answered his prayer related to understanding the vision he had been shown (Dan. 10:2-5). From the first day he began to pray, Daniel’s words were heard and a messenger was sent as an answer to his prayers (v. 12). However, God’s enemy opposed this messenger by fighting with him through one of his fallen angels, a prince of the kingdom of Persia (v. 13). Despite the delay and apparent heavenly inactivity, Daniel was faithful to continue praying for twenty-one days, until the satanic opposition was broken through and an answer was delivered. By this account we see that although God is well-disposed to answer our prayers, the enemy is actively fighting to oppose the fulfillment of God’s promises and delay God’s answer to our prayers. It is this opposition that frustrates our realization of God’s answers to the prayers that fulfill His heart’s desire and meet our needs.
As those who are cooperating with God for the fulfillment of His purpose on the earth today, we must realize that the heavenly warfare revealed to Daniel is still raging. Certainly, our prayers should be in line with what God wants to accomplish and aim to release the will of the heavens on the earth (Matt. 6:10). When we touch what is on God’s heart, the answer may be released by the Ruler of the heavens as soon as we realize the need to pray for it (Matt 16:19). Yet we may not see God’s answer immediately because of the opposition of God’s enemy. For this reason we must follow the pattern of Daniel to persevere in prayer so that God’s will may be released and His enemy may be defeated.
(Most references in the Further Reading can also be viewed on www.ministrybooks.org.)