Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Week Six - Wrestling

My grandson, MJ, placed second in his conference for wrestling this year.  This young man and his younger brother have spent years play-wrestling around the house. I guess all that practice is now paying off for MJ.  I’m sure it drove his mother crazy! But some boys do that, don’t they?  They push and shove, trying to be King of the Mountain to establish their pecking order. 
   Two brothers in the Bible did the same.  Jacob and Esau.  The power struggle between these two eventually separated them by hundreds of miles and over many years before they ever found comfort being together.  Makes me wonder if this sibling wrestling is why Jacob felt he could wrestle with the angel in Genesis 32. I don’t know of anyone else in the Bible who physically wrestled with an angel and won! Even Hosea 12:3 mentions Jacob having power with God and prevailing over the angel. 
   But I do know that we still wrestle.  Sadly, we are usually wrestling with our fears, worries, and doubts instead of wrestling with God. Remember:  There is no strength in unbelief!
    We would be better to learn how to grab hold of the horns of the altar, produce our cause and bring forth strong reasons—to learn to pray-through.  Then, walk away assured of God’s answer, stronger in faith, and confident in waiting.
    I remember my grandparents and old preachers speaking about praying-through. It isn’t a “God bless so-and-so” type of prayer. It is that fervent, persistent, straightforward prayer that seeks an answer and demands a solution.
     Jesus gives us two illustrations that shed light on this subject as He sets forth the necessity of persistence in prayer. 
     Luke 11 tells of the man who has no bread and goes to his neighbor at midnight to secure some.  He keeps asking until his need is met.  Jesus closes the parable with ask, seek, knock, and it will be opened. (Luke 11:9)
     And in Luke 18, Jesus told another similar parable and finished with His comment, “men ought always to pray and not to faint.”  In other words, keep at it until you get an answer.
    Then, there is the instance in Matthew 15 of the woman whose daughter was vexed with a devil.  She stubbornly persisted until Jesus remarks about the greatness of her faith and healed her daughter. 
   Jesus himself prayed persistently, refusing to be denied in the garden.  Matthew 26:44 He prayed until he had an answer. 
    You will also find others who were persistent in prayer, Paul, with his thorn in the flesh, Moses praying for God to change his mind about judgment on Israel, and Elijah praying for rain and sending his servant to investigate seven times.  They all expected an answer.
   The temptation might come to think that this type of prayer is one where you will wrestle with God until you get your way.  To believe that is to miss the mark.  You pray until you receive God’s answer, whatever that might be. 
    God’s answer to Paul was His grace is sufficient, and his thorn remained.  Jesus prayed and then surrendered his will to Calvary.  The secret is praying until your heart is settled in God’s answer.  Then, you have prayed-through.
    C.H. Spurgeon wrote, “Prayer is the sinew of God.  It moves His arm.” 
    Jacob wrestled to gain the blessing of God upon his life. Look back at Abraham, Moses, Elijah, and Daniel, and you will find them doing the same –pleading for God’s hand and laying their faith at His feet.  They prayed for eternal blessing.  They wrestled with the purpose of God in mind, and God answered.
    We don’t usually wrestle with a physical angel when we pray, but we need to persevere; to be fervent and respectfully expecting the answers and blessing we need.
    Hosea 7:14 warns us about howling upon our beds and not crying to the Lord with our hearts. Let’s be sincere in prayer.
   And don’t be like a child demandingly stamping its feet, but come as a pleading penitent calling for mercy from solid faith and stay there until you get an answer.      
    God hears our prayers; let’s make sure they are passionate and believing.  For then, and only then, will they produce confidence and strength in our lives and move the hand of God.

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your posts; they are a very encouraging reminder from what you have learnt and seen in scripture