Sunday, June 26, 2016

We are so Precious to God.....

"10 Just then a hand touched me and lifted me, still trembling, to my hands and knees. 11 And the man said to me, “Daniel, you are very precious to God, so listen carefully to what I have to say to you. Stand up, for I have been sent to you.” When he said this to me, I stood up, still trembling.
12 Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. 13 But for twenty-one days the spirit prince[c] of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels,[d] came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia." Daniel 10:10-13, NLT

In all the years I have read and studied my Bible, one of my favorite Bible stories has always been Daniel in the lion's den--and another was the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abnego in the fiery furnace. Beyond that, I knew the book of Daniel was about the end times, but I never paid much attention about those parts of the book.
Recently, though, in Sunday School, we have been doing Priscilla Shirer's new Bible Study, The Armor of God. The first lesson is all about understanding the importance of prayer as our first piece of armor and how we are already IN the heavenly realms. (If you need a new Bible Study, I highly recommend this one. It's fantastic.)
As I was doing my Bible reading this week, I was in the book of Daniel and I discovered that I have not given enough credit to the whole book. I "discovered" Daniel 9:23: "23 The moment you began praying, a command was given. And now I am here to tell you what it was, for you are very precious to God." (NLT) Even though I have read my Bible through a number of times throughout my life, it was as if I was reading this passage for the very first time. And it really struck me with a Holy Spirit power how Gabriel told Daniel that a command was given THE MOMENT Daniel began praying--and that Daniel was VERY PRECIOUS to God.
Do you see that? THE MOMENT Daniel began praying, God was answering his prayer. THE MOMENT Daniel began praying, God dispatched Gabriel to go to Daniel to minister to him and to explain the vision Daniel had seen. Daniel was so VERY PRECIOUS to God that THE MOMENT he began praying, God was hearing, listening, at the ready to respond.
Wow. I saw in awe of this passage and read it and re-read it probably a hundred times over the next several days. I shared it with my ladies in Sunday School and they seemed as much in awe of it as I was.
Then throughout the following days, I read Daniel 10 and I came to the passage above. Again, the angel Gabriel was sent to minister to Daniel THE FIRST DAY Daniel began praying to God. Of course, after getting excited over Daniel 9, I sat up straighter and paid more careful attention to the passage as a whole.
Notice carefully, though, that in spite of the fact that God sent Gabriel THE FIRST DAY Daniel began praying, it took him 21 days to get to Daniel. Do you see why?
That's the part that really struck me. Stay with me here.
As Gabriel was on his way to Daniel, he was blocked the "spirit of Persia." Now, whether you believe me or not, it is my understanding that this "spirit of Persia" is Satan, or at least one of Satan's minions. The "enemy" (Satan) kept the angel Gabriel from getting to Daniel for 21 days even though he had begun his journey to Daniel THE FIRST DAY Daniel had prayed to God! According to one source, the number 21 in the Bible represents "the great wickedness of rebellion and sin."  
Even the angels of God are subject to the enemy's determination to destroy our relationship with our Savior. 
Twenty-one days. That's almost a month. It's 3 weeks. In earthly terms, that's a LONG time. Or, it can be. 
But what I really want us to notice here is the fact that AS SOON AS Daniel began praying, God sent Gabriel to him, but Gabriel was detained. Daniel was considered "precious to God."
Do you realize that WE are considered PRECIOUS TO GOD, too?! Do you realize that THE MOMENT we begin praying, God sends His angels to minister to us?! Do you realize, though, that like Gabriel going to Daniel, the angels sent to us are also blocked by the enemy and/or his minions?! Do you understand that God RESPONDS TO OUR PRAYERS IMMEDIATELY? But the enemy knows that God answering our prayers is one way that we grow in our relationship with Him, so He does everything in his power to keep the angels of God from getting to us?!
So while we're on earth in our human bodies, crying and moaning and despairing of ever receiving a response from God, maybe, just maybe, God began answering our prayers THE MOMENT we began praying! 
We are Precious to God.
The Moment we begin praying to Him, He moves to answer.
God is a God who has given us free will which means that we must Pray as a way of letting Him know that we Receive Him--the gift of His Son--before He moves. But the MOMENT we begin praying, He is at the ready to respond!
The enemy is going to do everything he can to keep us from having a deeper relationship with our Lord and Savior. 
So the next time you pray and you don't receive an answer in the timeline you feel is appropriate, just remind the enemy that no matter how long he blocks God's angels from getting to you, you will WAIT because God answered your prayers the MOMENT you began praying. It is the enemy who keeps that answer from getting to us.
God HEARS and ANSWERS our prayers AS SOON AS we begin Praying, but we must begin praying first.

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