The Twentieth Day.

by Alexandra Rutkowski

When I came back from Argentina, I had the opportunity to preach at my church for the first time (I carried an illness back with me and infected by father. Great gift-giver, huh?) Although my main umbrella topic was the call of God, something that kept coming up was the topic of prayer.

Daniel chapter 10.

Here we see Daniel praying for Jerusalem. For THREE weeks (21 days) he is fasting, mourning, and praying. By the end of this time, he’s weak and discouraged- his answer hasn’t come. Still, he keeps on praying. On the 21st day, a messenger from God arrived and Daniel basically asks him, “What took you so long?” The messenger/angel has this to say: 

“Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.” 

It’s so easy to simply stop praying when an answer doesn’t come. Let’s be honest- it’s discouraging. After praying and praying, still with no answer, it’s so tempting to just stop. 

But this passage always reminds me of how I should be praying. There’s a few things that stick out:

  1. The heavenly being says that since the first day that Daniel lifted his request unto the Lord, his words were heard and an answer was sent. The first day. Many of us are praying for family or loved ones and feel like our prayers go unheard… but know that from the very moment you humbly brought your words before the Lord, your words were heard and an answer was sent. But just like Daniel, we’re just ignorant to the spiritual forces opposing it- it takes time.
  2. We are completely unaware of the spiritual implications of our prayer. Prayer has power, it’s more than words. There is a spiritual battle going on among us and in the cosmos- and our prayers help fuel it. It completely blows my mind to think of it! There’s a real battle going on. If only we could see it for ourselves- how much more would that affect our prayer lives?
  3. Though Daniel was weak and discouraged, he kept on praying. It was then that the messenger arrived on the 21st day- he fought until that hour. My question is this:  

What if Daniel stopped praying on the 2oth day?

Be persistent in prayer. Sometimes years pass before we see how God answered our cry. For Daniel, it was 21 days. It doesn’t matter if it’s 21 days, 21 months, or 21 years. We are called to fight in prayer. We have to be like Daniel and keep fighting to see that answer come. Remember that an answer has been sent. And most of all, don’t stop on the “twentieth day”.
I have to remind myself of that each day.