“Then [the messenger] continued, ‘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.” ~ Daniel 10:12
There are numerous issues that we are facing in our world today. Globally, there are concerns over what North Korea is doing; the continued conflicts in the Middle East; terrorist attacks in various countries; sex trafficking; and, poverty throughout our world. In our own country, there are fierce battles over how good of a job our president is doing. Additionally, there are concerns regarding LGBT positions; race relations; the continuation of abortion and women’s rights; views on immigration; hurricane Harvey’s destruction in Texas; divorce rates; homelessness; and, many others that I am sure hits home with you. A question that Christians often ask about situations that seem so much out of our hands and hard to solve is, “What can I do”?
Daniel found himself in a situation in his day like many of us find in ours today. Cyrus was king of Persia and conflicts were happening all around. Daniel’s vision showed oppression and persecution of God’s people. Evil was rampant from the leadership down to the people with whom the Israelites were living. The vision continued to show that the enemies of God would progress to the point of doing abominable things and trampling the temple (chapters 8, 9, 12).
What did Daniel do in the midst of all this conflict? He went before the Lord in prayer and fasting. Daniel 9:20 states, “While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my plea before the Lord my God for the holy hill of my God….” Then in chapter 10 verse 2 we read, “In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks. I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks.”
One must remember that Scripture teaches us that conflicts are not just an earthly phenomenon. Daniel’s vision shows us that our earthly conflicts reflect heavenly conflicts. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:10-13, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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.”
Daniel sets for us a great example that prayer is a key weapon in these conflicts. Jesus also teaches us that prayer is a great arsenal for the believer (Matt. 7:7-8). Our Westminster Shorter Catechism question 98 teaches us, “Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgement of his mercies.” In our prayer, we are always seeking to know and follow the will of God. We can be assured that He hears us because of His proven faithfulness. The Psalmists tells us in Psalm 10:17, “O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.” When we go before the Lord, we pray to the One who is sovereign over both heaven and earth, and that He will do what is best for our eternal good. (Romans 8:28-29)
Yes, we live in a day where there is much conflict. Our times seem to hold much despair, discouragement, and trouble for the believer. Yet, in the midst of all the wickedness that seems to prevail, we have a sovereign God who is a loving Father in whom to take refuge (Ps. 16:1-2). Run to Him. Run to the one who hears the hearts of all who trust in Him. Set your soul to earnest and steadfast prayer. “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us” (Ps. 62:8) Prayer is the one thing we can do in such a conflicting world.