This past Wednesday was my last class on prayer for this series at our church. Eyob had us contemplating and discussing the subject of persistence in our prayer life when we feel like God hasn't answered our prayers yet. To illustrate this point, he had us look at the passage found in Daniel 10 (I will let you read it on your own and just summarize it here). To say this is an incredible passage is to put it mildly. I have never heard this passage preached on in church and I actually wonder why...it is remarkable! We find Daniel in this passage three weeks into a fast because he had prayed to God for understanding and he had not yet received it. He was being persistent in his prayers, expectations, and desires to hear God's answer to his prayer. He did not give up praying the first day, week, or even 15 minutes (like many of us do). He had been faithfully fasting and praying for 3 weeks. Finally on the 24th day an angel appeared to him and told him that God had indeed answered his prayer for understanding the very day he had prayed for it, but that he (the angel) was delayed in bringing the message to him because he was fighting a battle against another enemy angel who had gotten in his way for the past 21 days. While still fighting this angel, he had to call on one of the chief princes, Michael, to come and continue the fight for him so that he could get this message on over to Daniel. Michael did continue to fight the other angel while God's answer to Daniel's prayer was delivered to him. The angel told Daniel he was then heading back to the fight because yet another angel was on his way to continue the battle and he only had Michael to help support him.
What!?!?!?! Can you even fathom what all is going on around us in the spiritual realms? I can't...or I guess I should say I haven't. Who would have known that with each prayer we pray to God there are (or could be) literal angel battles happening in order for our answer to arrive. Why, oh why do we so easily place the blame on God for not showing up or caring about us when our prayers aren't answered as quickly as we want them to be? We have such little faith. Perhaps it would be wise for us to realize we really don't have a clue what all is going on around us or what all needs to happen for our loving, good, and gracious God's answer to come. Perhaps we should be more persistent in our prayers in case there is a battle going on in the Heavenlies on behalf of us.
What if Daniel would have stopped praying, fasting, and expecting an answer from God? Would the angel war been won by the opposing angel? Would God's answer never have made it to Daniel? Who knows. We will never know, but when it comes to my own prayer life, this account certainly inspires me to keep on praying and not give up. Our minds are profoundly dumb and limited in light of God's. I feel completely humbled as a human to know there are angels willing to fight for me to receive a message from the Lord. It is also humbling to know God loves and cares for me so much that He literally answers my prayer as promptly as I've prayed it. It is, however, also very humbling to realize just how quickly I give up on trusting that amazing God to answer little ole' me when He may have given me the answer long before it actually arrived to me. It spurs me onward towards trusting my God even more intimately.
So, when applying this passage's example to my own current life situation, I can not help but think of this adoption. As I pray and continue praying for Nora's paperwork to be moved beyond the speed it "typically" should take in Haiti, I am inspired to not give up on that prayer. What if there is an angel trying desperately to move through a battlefield to deliver God's "YES" to me? If I knew that was happening wouldn't I become even more persistent in my prayers for God's will to be done and for His forces in the spiritual realms to be given full power to make His will happen? You bet I would! There is no doubt in my mind that Satan and all his evil angels want nothing more than to stop adoptions from happening. Adoptions are a mirror image of what God has done to us as His children so of course Satan wants to end each and every one of them from going through. I can only imagine the battle lines that are drawn every day for these children. This is where I feel God began to paint such a vivid vision in my head...
I see a war-torn, dark and stormy scene before me. In the distance are children. All kinds of children--all races, all ages, all sizes. They are trapped in a huge cage for both good and evil. Good because they are safe from the war going on around them and evil because they can not get to the families they want to be with. Their little arms are reaching out from behind those big black metal bars as if calling out for someone to rescue them. Nora is being held in there by another little girl. She too is one of those children needing rescued. In the forefront of the painting is a battle line. On one side there are no people on the ground...it's just an empty, darkened, abandoned space with a tumultuous terrain. On the other side of the line there are people. Ordinary people like you and me...actually I know I was in the line up. The people are dirty as if they have already done some fighting. Some are crying, some are lifting their arms in worship, some are on their knees, some are linked arm in arm. They are all shoulder to shoulder, so close to each other that nothing would be able to get past them. They are the parents who are adopting the children in that cage. They are weary but determined...you can see it on their faces. They know they are going to win. In the dark and stormy sky above this banded row of people are the most terrifying and awesome heavenly angels also in a row parallel to the people below them. They have swords drawn, arrows pointed, and fire ready. Their armor and weapons are clean, sharp, shiny, and beautiful. Their bodies are full of an indescribable white light and fire--so much they are almost glimmering. They are wispy, like stratus clouds, yet hold confident, fierce faces with a determination to win the battle. They are holy and awesome. On the other side of the battle line in the sky there is another row of angels. Dark, evil, and scary angels. They have dark red eyes and are equally as wispy as the heavenly angels, but not light in color. They also hold swords and arrows and fire in their hands. Their armor and weapons, however, are old, rusty, scarred, and un-kept. They don't care about anyone or anything. They are death, but on their faces they hold a look that says they are just as determined to win the battle. The battle lines are drawn. The enemy line is present...it is not built with people on the ground, but simply with the angels of darkness in the sky. The good line is present...it is built not just with the angels of God, but with an extra line of force--His grown children faithfully praying for His Will and His Victory to be won. The battle is about to begin.
That is the vision. The battle is about to begin. It hasn't begun, it hasn't been won, it hasn't ended...it is just about to begin. Right after I had this vision, I had an interesting second vision for a brief moment. It was the exact same scene as described above except one change. Instead of the line of people close to one another forming a wall of fighting power, there was just me. I was dirty and determined, yet there was a fear in my eyes that could not be mistaken. I was alone and you could see it in my eyes. I had the same full force of heavenly angels above me, but as far as my human line of defense, I was it. There was a question in my spirit if I could win the battle...it was what fed my fears.
It was this second vision that sparked a need to type this post. I have no idea what all God is speaking to me (or you) with this vision, but I have to wonder if He was pleading with me to gather the troops to join me on that battle line so we could claim the Victory. It was obvious I, as well as the other people in the first vision, had already done some battle--remember, we were dirty--but I could tell this war was going to be something different than anything we had experienced before. More fierce. More intense. More at stake. A larger, more grand, and amazing outcome for God's glory. BUT. In order for that to happen, it HAD to be the essence of the first vision. The battle HAD to have a solid line of brothers and sisters, moms and dads, who were willing to fight on the front line for their children's freedom or it just wasn't going to happen. Even though we have all prayed and fought our own battles trying to get our children home, I felt like God was asking us to stop battling alone and join together in one epic battle.
So, I guess, I'm leaving you with this question. If you are a parent who is in the process of adoption or if you are a parent still wondering if God is calling you to adopt, are you willing to join me on the battle line for our children? Are you willing to come alongside each other in a very solid, determined, victory-focused wall? Remember, we were not the ones fighting with weapons in that vision--we were fighting with prayer, worship, and solidarity to the One who we KNEW would lead us to Victory. The battle belongs to the Lord! Our children may not be in a dark and dirty cage, but they are being held in orphanages across the world. They need rescued--even if they are being held in wonderfully cared for, Christian-run places. They need to be set in, loved on, and cherished as part of a family--a forever family. They are the faces of what this fight is all about.
If you are not in the journey of adoption, this vision can still apply to you, too. We all have battles happening in our lives that need to be won. Battles against addictions like pornography, eating disorders, or alcohol. Battles against depression, anger, marital unfaithfulness. Battles against loss, fear, and broken hearts. Whatever your battle is, you were never meant to fight that battle alone. You were meant to have all the angels and children of God on your team. The battle line is drawn and the real war--the epic battle--is about to begin for you too. What do you need to do to make sure you have your army in place to ensure your victory?
I looked up a few passages after journaling about my vision and the thoughts and feelings that came out of that time with the Lord. I will type the references here with links for you. I encourage you to look them up and allow them to give you much hope and courage as you potentially prepare yourself to join me or others on the front line. I also listened to two worship songs that have become very meaningful in my journey. The first tells of the God who is on our side in the battle and the second tells of the outcome of the victory we are all fighting for no matter what the battle before you is about. I hope and pray that God is truly rising up an army of faithful and persistent praying people. I am ready for the fight.
- 2 Samuel 22:30-51 (although the entire chapter of Samuel 22 is wonderful!)