A Delay in Your Prayer Request…or Is It?

I learned a really profound concept recently in regards to prayer. I have been studying the effects of prayer and its techniques for the past year, but this concept took me by surprise. Have you ever wondered why some prayers seem to take forever before they are answered? Well this concept involves the timing of prayer and what we can do to affect it.

Ephesians 6:18
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Dr. Tony Evans has some great insight from one of his sermons titled “Putting on The Armor.” In the following commentary, I’ve taken some key points from his sermon so it’s applicable to our own lives and situations. (I’ve found Dr. Evans to be very helpful in helping me to grasp complex theology, especially when it comes to the power of prayer.) In this particular sermon, Dr. Evans focuses on the teachings of Paul who says that our real wrestling match is in another realm. It’s in the wrestling ring of heavenly places. And because our battle is in that spiritual realm, that is where our fight must be. And it is in that realm, that we can rest assured knowing that Jesus has already been victorious.

“Whatever is plaguing you today emanates from the spiritual realm. So if you and I don’t address the cause, we cannot get to the cure. The enemy doesn’t want you to know or take seriously that it emanates from the spiritual realm because then you might address it spiritually.”

Praying in the Spirit

Romans 8:26-27
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

If you are in so much suffering that you find yourself groaning in pain, there is hope. Dr. Evans says that when we bring what we know to be the Will of God into the presence of God, the Holy Spirit groans right there with us. And because the Spirit knows how deep the problem is, He can come alongside and help us out. The Spirit can take over and lift us up in such a way that we cannot achieve by ourselves nor can anybody else that we look to do it for us either.

Have you ever wondered people so often want to seek out the opinions of friends or family members to get their opinion on a matter—especially when they know there is little to nothing that can be done to actually help out in a situation? In these cases, deep down, we’re often really just looking for some sympathy. Yet if we want true solutions to our issues in the physical, it’s time to get serious and pray in the Spirit in the invisible.

After all, there really is something else going on behind the scenes in that spiritual realm. And the Spirit knows what the territory is and what is happening to you even though you cannot see it in the invisible realm.

So first things first. How on earth do we come to know the Will of God? Let’s look to the prophet Daniel as an example…

Daniel’s Prayer

Daniel 9:2-3
in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.

We see that Daniel was reading the Bible to see what God had already revealed, way back when, to the prophet Jeremiah. He knew that when he sought out what God had said in the past on a matter (God’s Word), it is how he would discover God’s Will. Daniel then talked to God Himself about it (through prayer) because he found a part in the Scriptures that related to his own situation. This is the concept of “praying in the Spirit.”

Dr. Evans brings up two points here on why we need to read the Bible…1) to learn more about God…and 2) to throw it back up at God on what He already said.

Daniel 9:20-21
While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the Lord my God for his holy hill—while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice.

Gabriel is in fact, the angel Gabriel. So Daniel read the Word, then talked to God about the Word, and God sent down an angel to help him understand the Word. Notice, He didn’t send the angel to help him understand his situation until he first prayed. But he didn’t pray until he found out what God had to say. THEN God sent the angel.

All Christians are assigned an angel, a guardian angel if you will, according to Dr. Evans. In this case, the one assigned to Daniel, was Gabriel.

Instant Answers

Daniel 9:22-23
He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the word and understand the vision:

Okay, so when Daniel prayed, the command was given for the angel Gabriel to come.

Daniel 10:10-12
A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. He said, “Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling. Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.

So Gabriel is saying here, “Look, Daniel, I came because of YOUR words, but your words were tied to God’s words.” So when Daniel brought his words and hooked them up to God’s Words, God sent Gabriel to talk to Daniel about what he talked to God about. This gets into what Dr. Evans refers to as God’s delivery postal system (aka the message or answer to our prayers).

God’s Delivery Postal System

Daniel 10:13-14
But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.”

So let’s recap—Daniel’s reading the Word (as spoken to the prophet Jeremiah in the past) and the words jump off the page. So Daniel gets in the Spirit to talk to God about what he read. And on the very same day he prayed, God sent the answer. That answer is sent in the form of the angel Gabriel, who has been dispatched to help Daniel out. However, there was a slight problem with the delivery, so to speak. The king of Persia was blocking Gabriel from reaching Daniel. Who is the king of Persia? The “king of Persia” is a demon. And Persia was where Daniel happened to be living.

Dr. Evans explains that when you are a righteous person praying in the Word of God, it doesn’t take long for Him to answer it. In fact, He will answer it on the same day you ask it. But unless you only see what’s happening in the visible world, you’ll never see what’s happening in the invisible world. People often wonder why it takes so long for their prayers to be answered. This is why.

God has a postal messaging system with the angels. And every Christian is assigned an angel. But Hell also has their own postal service which tries to block those messages. You can tell it was a big demon over Daniel too, because God had to send backup in the form of the archangel Michael to help Gabriel fight it off. So for 21 days (3 weeks), these two angels were fighting back and forth in the invisible realm that Daniel was not even aware of.

So if it’s taking too long for your own prayers to be answered, perhaps consider praying for God to work out the spiritual battle unbeknownst to our own physical reality and destroy the demons trying to block us from receiving His reply response so the answer actually gets to us in a timely manner.

If it’s taking a while to see the prayer answered in the physical, avoid praying the same request you prayed before. Instead pray in order to break through that which blocks what has already been granted. And when you pray according to God’s Word, you don’t have to keep asking Him over and over again for the same thing. The rest of our prayers should be more like “thank you, thank you, thank you for answering.”

Be On Alert when You Pray with Your Eyes Open

Ephesians 6:18
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Going back to Paul’s teachings, he says stay alert. Pray with your eyes open. Did you know most prayers in the Bible, according to Dr. Evans are not prayed with the eyes closed? We do that in our society to concentrate or show reverence. But back in the ancient world, it says the people prayed “and they lifted their eyes.” Eyes were open. Paul says keep them open and be alert. Could this also imply not just physical eyes, but spiritual eyes as well? Peter alludes to this too and provides more insight…

1 Peter 5:8
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

The devil is trying to eat you up like a lion. But lions don’t roar when they are coming up on their prey. They roar AFTER they get you. That deafening roar is their declaration of victory. When you’re calling down Heaven, Hell wants to block that. That is why so many times when you are trying to pray distractions show up. Sleepiness creeps in. Something pops up. The lion doesn’t want you to interfere with him trying to block God’s message. You think those distractions are just chance or luck? No, those are tactics that the devil uses to sidetrack us. Just before preparing to hear this sermon, I found myself overcome by a sudden wave of tiredness as I actually placed my head on my dining room table to take a nap. But I snapped out of it knowing that the devil was trying to keep me from learning this mind-blowing insight (and to share with you)! I always wondered why I yawn so much in the middle of my deepest prayers in the middle of the day when I should be filled with so much energy. Now it all makes sense.

If the enemy is trying to distract you in prayer, that is GOOD news! That means it’s already been approved and it’s on its way. But the darker side doesn’t want you to get that news so it tries to block you. A lot of the stuff you’ve been asking for has already been pre-approved. But if you will persevere and specifically throw it back in God’s face based on His Word (the important part), He will surely send the help needed so you see it revealed in the physical realm.

Good luck and godspeed my friend.