Two days ago, I was meeting with a couple of friends of mine to study the book of Daniel. We’re taking our time and going through the book chapter by chapter, and we had gotten up to chapter 10.
One of the things we noticed is that Daniel was fasting and mourning for “three full weeks” (Dan 10:2). Daniel, who was by now a very mature saint, over eighty years old, had been foregoing any pleasant food or personal care for twenty-one days. Despite being a well-respected ruler, and having access to any amount of pleasure he liked, he mourned for twenty-one days. While the text doesn’t explicitly say what he was mourning for, he was most likely distressed over the current condition of his people.
For three solid weeks, this eighty-something year old man gave himself to fasting, prayer, and mourning. The kicker is that during those three solid weeks, he had no answer from heaven. Nothing. Zip. Later in the chapter, the story comes out that the messenger angel had been spending the whole time hacking his way through the principality over Persia. From the moment Daniel began praying, an answer had been sent forth — but it took three weeks of spiritual warfare to get the message through.
I don’t know how that all works, but I can imagine being in Daniel’s shoes for those three weeks. The last time he gave himself in a uniquely focused way to praying for Israel, he received an angelic visitation and a profound revelation of things to come (chapter 9). This time, there was nothing. No word from heaven. As far as we know, there was not even a warm fuzzy feeling. Day after day passed. He probably craved some good food and a nice long bath. He had no way of knowing that an angel was fighting at that very moment to get through to him. He did not know that the angelic activity which was set off because of his prayer would shift the course of history, ultimately bringing down Persia and making the way for the rise of Greece. All he knew was that he was mourning, and heaven was silent. Read the rest of this entry »