What’s one characteristic that you have that makes you successful? Have you ever thought about that? Each of us have natural giftings and characteristics that God gave us that help us to be successful. I like to ask that question because I get a lot of different answers. My answer is usually determination or consistency. Consistency is what dug the Grand Canyon and determination can keep you focused to accomplish anything. I try to be consistent in every area of my life. What you see is what you get. I’ve also learned that there are characteristics that I can learn and implement into my life in order to be more successful. I don’t have to just rely on and use my natural giftings.
In Luke 11, the disciples were talking privately with Jesus and they asked Him to teach them to pray. He taught them what we refer to as The Lord’s Prayer. As soon as He finished, He gave an illustration to help them understand how to pray better. He gave the example of a person who had a friend show up unexpectedly in the middle of the night. Instead of putting them to bed, he needed to serve them some food, but didn’t have any. He then went to his neighbor and knocked on the door to ask for food. The neighbor was in bed and didn’t want to give the food, but the person kept knocking and wouldn’t go away. Because they wouldn’t stop, the neighbor will get out of bed and give him what he needs. Jesus then said our prayers should be like that instead of one and done or asking timidly.
In verse 11, Jesus gave a characteristic that we can al, learn and implement. He said, “Every persistent person will get what he asks for. Every persistent seeker will discover what he needs. And everyone who knocks persistently will one day find an open door” (TPT). Persistency. How many times have we been persistent with God like a kid in the grocery store wanting something? We tell ourselves that we don’t want to bother God with our problem or believe the lie that God doesn’t care about our issue. Those lies are meant to rob you of your blessing and to keep you from communicating with your Heavenly Father. Don’t listen to them. Instead, pound on Heaven’s door and let God know you’re not going away until you get what you need. Jesus said every persistent person will get what they ask for. Don’t quit asking. Don’t quit seeking. Don’t quit knocking.
One of the most frustrating things for me is to leave on time and to arrive at work late. This recently happened several days in a row. When I turned on my app, it showed I would arrive at work 30 minutes early. As I drove, it kept rerouting me and delaying the time. It would beep and say, “Found new route. No time saved.” Then it would beep and say, “Delayed eight minutes.” I went through side streets, back roads, highways, and freeways to get to my destination. In the end, it was about 30 minutes after I was supposed to start my meeting. I came in, apologized, and delivered the content.
As I read Daniel 10, it made me think of that day in traffic. Each of us has been delayed trying to get where we are going. We’ve all tried to get somewhere important only to have to take alternate routes. It turns out, these things happen to angels as well (on a whole different level of course). They have places to be and messages to give, but are delayed as well. Daniel had been fasting and praying for three weeks, but hadn’t heard from God. It turns out, the angel ran into traffic and was delayed in bringing the answer.
In verse 13, the Angel said to Daniel, “But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia” (NLT). He wasn’t delayed by 30 minutes, he was delayed three weeks! He had to fight rulers and principalities of the air in order to bring Daniel the answer he was seeking. If it happened then, it happens today.
I love what the Angel said just before that in verse 12. 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.” It’s a great reminder that when we begin to pray, our prayers are heard in heaven immediately. Sometimes there’s traffic in delivering our answer. We can’t give up praying because we haven’t been answered. There is a spiritual war raging that we don’t see, and it can cause delays. Daniel’s answer took 3 weeks of fasting and prayer. Imagine if he hadn’t been fasting or had quit praying.
Don’t quit seeking God for the answers to your prayers. We have no idea why answers don’t come as quickly as we would like. I wonder how many times I’ve blamed God for not answering my prayers, and I quit praying not knowing He had sent the answer and it got delayed. Just as God’s Angel was determined to get to Daniel with the answer, we need to be determined to keep praying and fasting until we get God’s answer. We can’t control how long it takes for the answer to arrive, but we can control how long we seek God for answers.
As school starts back up, I’m reminded of my school days. The world was different, but the actions of people were the same. I remember being in classes where certain kids wouldn’t pay attention in class, they wouldn’t do their homework and were distractions to other students overall. When they would fail a test, they’d be the first ones hollering for extra credit. Do you think the teachers gave it to them? Of course not! They never paid attention to what the teacher was trying to teach. They were bound to fail the test.
It’s very similar to people who have gone to church their whole lives and have never paid attention. They go to church to be seen rather than to grow. They won’t help others in need or come to the aid of those less fortunate than they are. However, when they’re being tested, they’re the first ones hollering for God to help them. They rarely get a favorable answer from God. Proverbs 28:9 tells us why: God has no use for the prayers of the people who won’t listen to Him (MSG).
God does not want to just hear from you when you’re in an emergency. He doesn’t want you to ignore the things He tries to tell you through people. He’s a loving God who tries to speak to His children in order to guide them down paths that give them hope and a future. To those who listen, He hears their prayers. To those who don’t, He has no use for their emergency prayers. He didn’t sacrifice His son so we could use Him on,y when we need Him. He gave us His son because He loves us and wants a full time relationship with us. If you want your prayers heard, start listening to what God is saying to you or risk failing the test.