We can sometimes forget that prayer is one of the weapons that God has given us in our conflict against the kingdom of darkness. But when Paul was listing the armor of God, he finished with this admonition: “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18). Intercession plays a critical role in advancing God’s kingdom.
The book of Daniel gives us an interesting glimpse into the role that prayer plays in spiritual warfare. Daniel was praying and fasting for 21 days, seeking the interpretation of visions he had received. After the three weeks, an angel appeared to him with the following message:
“Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia. Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come.”
Did you catch what is happening here? As soon as Daniel set his heart to seek God in prayer, an angel was sent to answer him. But the angel was held up in a spiritual battle with the “prince of the kingdom of Persia.” After battling with the demonic principality for some time, God sent the angel Michael to help bring the victory. Do we even have a grid for this type of experience?
Here is the key to the story: From Daniel’s perspective on earth, nothing was happening during the 21 day fast. But in the spiritual realm, things were moving. He persisted in prayer, and eventually the answer came.
When we pray, we are not always aware of all that is happening. But we should stand fast, knowing that our prayers are impacting things in the unseen world. There is a battle raging, and our prayers are shifting things in the heavenly realm. We must persevere in seeking God and interceding for His kingdom to come and His will to be done “on earth as it is in heaven.”
Our prayers are changing things in the spiritual world. And one of the keys for victorious prayer is a steadfast perseverance that refuses to give up. Like Daniel, we must set our hearts toward the Lord, and press through until the answer comes!