10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:10–12 (NIV)
Once we have experienced our spiritual “awakening” based on our discussion in part 2 of our series, we are ready to take the next step, which is to become spiritually “aware”.
Spiritual awareness is precisely explained in Ephesians 6:12, where we are directed to see the world spiritually. This means understanding “our struggle is not against flesh and blood,” and never settling for the superficial view that human resistance is responsible for our difficulties.
There are a number of ways to see and understand spiritual awareness in Scripture. One of the most enlightening ways occurs when Daniel is seeking to understand the truth of God’s will:
20 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—21 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. 22 He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. 23 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…
Daniel 9:20–23 (NIV)
Daniel 9:20-23 teaches us that Daniel prayed and confessed sin in making his request of God, and “while he was still in prayer, Gabriel” came to him in swift flight. Gabriel is an angel, which means when Daniel prayed, God sent his angels into action. There was heavenly activity in response to Daniel’s spiritual activity of prayer.
This story becomes even more descriptive when we discover Gabriel was detained in delivering the message of insight to Daniel:
12 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. 13 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. 14 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.”
Daniel 10:12–14 (NIV)
Gabriel, the messenger of God was detained by the prince of the Persian kingdom. This prince of the Persian kingdom is generally considered to be the angel of darkness assigned to the nation of Persia, what some call a “territorial spirit”. These spirits’ sole purpose is to wreak havoc on nations, keeping them in the darkness.
The reason I am sharing these accounts of Daniel, his prayer life, and the angelic activity it inspired, is to help us become spiritually aware.
I can still remember reading Daniel 9 and 10 for the first time, and being stunned, because it was as if God pulled back the curtain, so I could see what happens when I pray.
Spiritual awareness is like that – we feel as though the curtain has been pulled back, blindfold removed, or our eyes have been opened. We start to see why prayer is so important.
We begin to think about the sources of temptation, conflict, and confusion being a result of unseen dark spiritual activity. In short, we begin to live spiritually aware lives, understanding the limited power of people, and the immense need to learn to exert spiritual power if we are going to flourish in this world.
When we develop this awareness that the most relevant activity taking place at any one time is spiritual, and recognize the insignificance of human action in comparison to the invisible spiritual power at work in the cosmos, we then lose our fear of people and discover what it truly means to be in awe of God.
Reflect on the following questions to insure you are becoming spiritually aware. If you are having difficulty, reread this study, and reexamine the questions before moving on – until you sense an increase in your spiritual awareness:
- Spiritual awareness is about seeing the world spiritually, getting beyond “the superficial view that human resistance is responsible for our difficulties.” What relationships or events can you change your perspective on because of this realization? How would you live differently if you embraced this perspective in your day-to-day life? (Ephesians 6:10-12)
- What does it mean when it says Daniel was “highly esteemed?” Do you believe you could ever be highly esteemed in heaven and by God? How might you grow in your spiritual life to become highly esteemed? (Daniel 9:20-23)
- How would you describe the connection between confession of sin and the power of prayer? Is this how you pray? Why? Why not? (Daniel 9:20)
- What is the connection between the spiritual activity of prayer with the activity of God and angels in heaven? (Daniel 10:12-14)
- Would you describe yourself as spiritually aware, spiritually dull, or spiritually numb? Why? Why not? How can you grow to become spiritually aware, and continue increasing your spiritual awareness?