Thursday, April 20, 2006

Prayer is a Wrestling Match


One Minute Uplift Devotional: Our Greatest Fights Are with God
Rick Ezell


"So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.” Genesis 32:24

God is the divine intruder in our lives. He sometimes invades our lives not to bring comfort but to wage a war. As strange as it may sound, some of our greatest battles are with God. Please understand that I’m not implying that we don’t have fights with the devil or that spiritual warfare does not occur. Temptation is real. But often it is easier to say “No” to the devil than it is to say “Yes” to God.

Just ask Jacob. Jacob is alone the night before the arrival of his brother, Esau, and a most unusual thing happened. Thinking he is all by himself on a riverbank, Jacob is surprised by an aggressor, an attacker. How was he accosted? From the front? Hardly. If it were a frontal assault I think Jacob would have reasoned with him. “Listen, friend, we can work out this disagreement. Let’s have a drink and discuss the situation. We don’t need to fight.” The attacker, however, surprised him from the rear, throwing his arms around him so Jacob was forced to retaliate. Who was Jacob’s attacker? Was it Esau? Taking a page out of Jacob’s book, Esau could have schemed and deceived his brother with a surprise strategy. Good guess. But, no. Maybe it was one of Esau’s men—a loyal soldier who happened along and saw an opportunity to right the wrong that Jacob had done to Esau earlier in his life. Possibly. But, again, no.

Jacob’s attacker was none other than God himself. Alone at night, Jacob wrestled with God. And of all the fights that Jacob had experienced in his life, climbing and scheming to achievement and success, his most difficult fight was with The Almighty. In fact, on that night, God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, meaning “he struggles with God.”

The toughest bout you and I will face is not saying “no” to a profitable career, but saying “yes” to a divine prompting. It is not saying “no” to happiness, but saying “yes” to holiness. It is not saying “no” to temptation, but saying “yes” to righteousness. Please understand that God’s desire is not that we be miserable and unhappy. He does want to give us the desires of our hearts. But saying “yes” to God’s leadership can be a struggle, in not a downright battle.

Wrestling with God is the most difficult battle we will face.

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2 comments:

healthvalley said...

One thing I would like to know if prayer works.

NPPN Blog said...

IMHO, prayer does not "work" -that would place the power in the praying. I prefer to say that the One we pray to works; God works on our behalf as we talk with Him, listen to His voice (our inner voice and the Scriptures), and live out our faith in the community of believers.

As we pray, we discern how and where and why God is at work. Our obedience forms a partnership with the Almighty that often results in the outworking of His will, which makes it look as if it was our prayer that worked.

So, does prayer work? No. But the God we pray to in the name of Jesus works in us by helping us pray and works through us as we listen and obey.

Phil @ www.nppn.org