ESV - 12 Then he said to me, "Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.
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I recently led a study on Daniel 10 as part of a series on prayer, and this passage in particular dealt with prayer and spiritual conflict. We are told in Eph 6:12 that, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of the dark world, and against spiritual forces of evil in heavenly realms.” The picture in Daniel 10 is that sometimes, there is a connection between what happens in the heavenly realms and what happens on our physical earth. The answer to Daniel's prayer was on its way to Daniel, but it was hindered by an agent of Satan. God allows this, and some of God's agents got involved in this struggle to make things happen. What is more than the answer to Daniel's prayer was the way God dealt with him when he entered God's presence. He was touched three times: once to set him on his hands and knees, twice to let him speak, and the third time to fill him with strength. Daniel sees his glory and senses his power, yet experiences his tender touch. When we come into God’s presence, we experience this as well. When the people of God set their hearts and minds on defeating the kingdom of this world, it sets off a conflict in heaven. The angel was telling Daniel that his prayers were leading to conflicts in heaven, to things bigger than what he was aware. When the saints pray, opposition is inevitable.
The delay was caused by the activity and opposition of evil spiritual agents empowering or associated with pagan kingdoms of the world. (These demonic agents continue to exist, as referenced much later by Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:20.)
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