Do you ever have a hard time making yourself pray? Most of us do. Though we know we should pray and that prayer could solve most of our problems, for some reason we often fail to pray. What is it about prayer that makes it so difficult? Perhaps part of the problem is that we are trying to talk to someone we can’t see. Perhaps part of the problem is that most of us would rather be doing something than just be talking about it. But there is another reason why prayer can be difficult. Every time we pause to pray, we are engaging in spiritual warfare. Consider these verses of Scripture.
Daniel 10:12 Then he said to me, “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. 13 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. 14 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.”
These verses have stunned many who have read them. The angel told Daniel that God had sent him an answer the first day he began to pray. But God’s answer took three weeks to get to him. What caused the delay?
The angel told Daniel that for three weeks he had been in a battle with “the prince of the kingdom of Persia for twenty-one days.”Who was the prince of the kingdom of Persia? Many believe that it was an evil angel serving under the command of Satan. From this passage, many have gathered that there are specific demons assigned to specific nations for the purpose of causing its leaders to do the will of Satan. Paul teaches us very clearly in the book of Ephesians that we are in spiritual warfare with a well-organized hierarchy of demons.
Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can make your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore take up the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground, and having done everything, to stand.
This spiritual battle in the book of Daniel was so intense that it required the commissioning of an archangel named Michael to come and help deliver the message.
Daniel 10:13 … and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.
The Bible reveals the names of three angels: Gabriel, Michael, and Lucifer. Scripture seems to indicate that these three angels were created to serve as ‘arch-angels.’ The prefix ‘arch’ means chief or leader. Because these three are archangels, many believe that the rest of the angels have been assigned to serve under them. Gabriel is thought to be a messenger angel. Most of the time, whenever a message is being sent from heaven, Gabriel is the one who delivers it. Perhaps Gabriel and his angels are the ones directly involved in the answering of our prayers. Michael seems to be a military angel. Revelation 12:7 refers to “Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon and his angels.” Michael is a warrior angel. But what about Lucifer? Who is he and what was his assignment? Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 seem to indicate that perhaps Lucifer was created to serve God with worship. These passages also teach us that at some point, Lucifer rebelled against God and rather than worshipping God, he desired to be worshipped as God. Perhaps you will remember that the one thing he wanted the most from Jesus was for the Savior to bow down and worship him. (see Matthew 4) According to Revelation 12:4, when Lucifer fell he took a third of the angels with him. These fallen angels are now known as demons and Lucifer is now referred to as Satan (adversary or one who withstands) or the Devil (slanderer or false accuser).
We should note that while the invisible battle was going on in the sky, Daniel was on his knees praying. Could it be that the persistence of Daniel’s prayers is what helped Michael win the battle?