Why does God sometimes answer us immediately, and other times, we pray and pray and see nothing for months or even years?
There are two things about God and prayer I find to be helpful to remember. The first is found in Daniel 9:23. It says, “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.”
Sometimes we pray, and immediately a command goes out, and God places the answer to our prayer in our lives. Immediately God responds.
But there is a second example we find in the very next chapter, Daniel 10:12-13. The second prayer we see Daniel pray, is not answered immediately, and it’s interesting to read the reason.
Then he said, “Do not 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 to answer your prayer. But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way.”
This verse is super important to understanding how prayer works, or, as it sometimes seems, is not working. Bible commentator Charles Ellicott says of this exchange:
Perhaps no single verse in the whole of the Scriptures speaks more clearly than this upon the invisible powers which rule and influence nations… From this chapter we not only learn that Israel had a spiritual champion (Daniel 10:21) to protect her in her national life, and to watch over her interests, but also that the powers opposed to Israel had their princes, or saviors, which were antagonists of those which watched over Israel. The “princes” of the heathen powers are devils, according to 1 Corinthians 10:20.1
In Daniel chapter nine, we see God answer immediately, and in Daniel chapter 10, we see Daniel’s answer is delayed due to the intervention of evil supernatural influences in the region at that time.
What is important to note is that both times, Daniel is loved by God.
A delay in this instance is not brought on by Daniel himself, but rather, is a reaction to the organization of demonic spirits in the supernatural realm.
Sometimes, it is not your turn, and it is also not your fault.
There is a real devil, and a real army of evil constantly organizing to delay your promise. So, we must learn as believers how to pray thoroughly.
Prayer is not a one size fits all experience, and God will answer and respond to you differently season by season.
But prayer does matter, and prayer does change things, and prayer does change us.
~ Excerpt from It’s Not Your Turn by Heather Thompson Day
1 By various writers. Edited by Charles John Ellicott, An Old Testament commentary for English readers, Charles Ellicott & Bible. Old Testament. English. Authorized. (London: Cassell, Petter & Galpin, 1882). https://biblehub.com/commentaries/ellicott/daniel/10.htm.