A long time ago, a book came out called “This Present Darkness,” by Frank Peretti. It was a fiction book, but after reading it, it really made me think about the the spiritual warfare that goes on that we can’t see with our eyes, and about the necessity of prayer.
I can’t help but think that the book was inspired by this passage, because this is the first time you get a behind the scenes view of the spiritual war that goes on in the Bible.
Here we see Daniel in a time of mourning. Why he was mourning is uncertain. It could be that he was hearing of the troubles that his people were having back home in Israel, with all the opposition to the rebuilding of the temple and the city walls. Or he might have been mourning the fact that his people were still more interested in themselves than the things of God (something that Haggai would later criticize them for).
Whatever the reason, he was fasting and seeking God. Yet for 3 weeks, this man of God heard nothing. How often do we feel the same way. We’re troubled, we’re seeking God, and yet God seems to be ignoring us.
But was God ignoring him? Not at all. An angel appeared to Daniel saying,
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. (12-13)
After strengthening Daniel to hear his message, he then said,
Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince.) (20-21)
What should we get from tall of this? When we think of all the problems in this world, when we think of the times that God sometimes seems silent in the midst of it all, there’s a lot going on that we cannot see. There is, in fact, a spiritual war going on.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)
This is not a war in which we’re fighting people, although at times, it sure seems that way. We’re fighting spiritual forces who influence those around us. And if we’re going to fight these forces, then we need spiritual armor and spiritual weapons, all of which are described in Ephesians 6.
I won’t comment on them right now except to point out that all these pieces of armor that Paul mentions are for the front of the body. There’s nothing for the back. Why? Because we are meant to fight going forward, not running away.
But the thing to remember after arming ourselves is that we also need to be praying. Paul wrote,
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6:18)
We cannot fight this fight alone and in our own strength. We need the Spirit of God himself, fighting for us. And so we should not only pray for ourselves, but for all of the Lord’s people, for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Pray for your pastor. Pray for those brothers and sisters who are hurting.
Let us not be complacent. Let us not be caught unaware by the enemy. Let us always be alert and praying as God has called us to. And let us fight the good fight of faith in this war we’re in.