Twenty-One Days

Originally published Wednesday, 15 April 2015.

There's an incredible account of God answering prayer in the tenth chapter of Daniel. I was amazed by it the other day and still am today. At first thought, most of us think only of Daniel in the lion's den when we think of the book of Daniel, but this book has many more gems to mine than we may know.

Now, I've always believed the truth taught in Daniel chapter ten conceptually, but even though I've read through this book several times before, I have never seen it for what it is. For some reason, I have been blind to what this passage shows us.

As you read through the book of Daniel, it seems Daniel sought the Lord continually, but at this particular time in his story, Daniel decided to fast. For three weeks, we're told, he "ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered [his] mouth." He was mourning, as he considered the hardships his people were going through in Judah, so he fasted and prayed on their behalf. And God responded.

This is what struck me.

As Daniel stood on the bank of the Tigris, he was confronted by an angel. “Fear not, Daniel," the angel said, "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" (v. 12, emphasis mine). The angel continued, "The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days..." (v. 13, emphasis mine).

Daniel tells us he'd been fasting and praying for three weeks. Twenty-one days

The angel tells us he'd been en route twenty-one daysFrom the first day that Daniel set his heart to understand and humbled himself before God.

The moment Daniel set his heart to seek God, God moved.

This is the God we serve. A God who hears our prayers, our heart's cry, the moment they're uttered. I believe this truth, and have for years now, but what amazes me is how this account gives a glimpse behind the curtain. Into the heavenlies. When we pray, this scripture tells us, things happen in the spiritual realm. God sets His angels in motion to work on our behalf.

And I think I'm so struck by this reality right now because I've seen this truth played out recently in my own life.

Three weeks before we received the call about our children in Ethiopia, I felt the Lord prompt me to fast. I asked my husband, Travis, if he'd join me, and he did. Every Monday, for three weeks, we fasted and prayed on behalf of our adoption. Twenty-one days. And on that third Monday, we received the call.

God had been whispering to me those three weeks, as He had many times before, telling me to activate my faith. Telling me to believe and to act on that belief. And all that time, He was moving. He had been working toward this moment for four and a half years at this point, but this was the final push, and I guarantee His angels were at work those twenty-one days, fighting for our children in Ethiopia. For our family.

From the first day that Travis and I set our heart to understand and humbled ourselves before God, our words were heard. Our prayers were heard, and God moved.

What is God calling you to pray for today?