Prayer Heavyweights: Wrestling with God
Do you pack a prayer punch? Can you really change God’s mind? When do you go to the mat and contend for the victory? Should you ever face plant, belly-down, call the match and take your lumps? Or do you stick out your chest, put up your dukes and war to win?
Paul juxtaposes two prayer principles in Ephesians 6:13 and 18.
"Take up the whole armor of God…praying always…" NIV
Brie, my chronically ill daughter, penned this Facebook post yesterday:
“Today is an ‘I can too do this’ kinda day! I started with a breathing treatment, mega-steroid dose, Tamiflu, and GI slider to keep my ulcers from bleeding. Next up, an anti-inflammatory IM shot 2" deep in my thigh. Now I have four needles in my tummy pumping in my IGG, which feels like fire going in.”
Brie has fought pneumonia, lung disease and cancer. I wake up and wonder. Will she make it through this day?
Jessie, my first baby, suffered and suffocated for nine months with lung disease and congestive heart failure. Early every morning I awakened in a cold sweat, raced to her crib, and placed my cheek near her tiny nostrils to see if she was still breathing. Every time I see my Brie I re-live Jessie’s battle. Why, God? Where’s the healing power?
A prayer warrior I love reminded me of the words of Oswald Chambers:
“Always make a distinction between God’s perfect will and His permissive will, which He uses to accomplish His Divine purpose for our lives. God’s perfect will is unchangeable. It is with His permissive will, or the various things that He allows into our lives, that we must wrestle before Him. It is our reaction to these things allowed by His permissive will that enables us to come to the point of seeing His perfect will for us.”
Jacob battled with the Angel of the Lord. “I will not let you go until you bless me…” (Genesis 32:26). Shifty Jacob limped away from his wrestling match. But that day the cheat became a prince. Wrestling in prayer forever changed him. Job, scraping the pus off his sores on the trash heap, took a long time to discover where the real battle was being fought. Finally he emerged victorious. (Job 42: 4-6). Abraham bargained with God to save Sodom. God changed His mind. (Genesis 18:16-33). Moses’s impassioned plea prevented the annihilation of God’s people on Mount Sinai. Jehovah relented. (Exodus 32:11-14).
There is a time to wrestle with God, according to Chambers. Don’t strong-arm the Almighty and demand that He do your bidding. You’ll face plant on the mat and lose the bout. Get rid of the flab. Worldliness, complaining, apathy, hidden sin and doubt will make you Devil fodder. One headlock and you are down for the count.
Get in shape. Train. Carbo-load with God’s Word. Pray from heaven down to earth. Know your Mighty Warrior so well, you recognize His voice and hear His heart. His adrenaline pumps through your veins.
Know your opponent. Satan is a heavyweight, but Christ is mighty in you. Pray like the champion you are.
Chambers wisely concludes:
“God’s permissive will is the testing He uses to reveal His true sons and daughters. We should not be spineless and automatically say, “Yes, it is the Lord’s will.” We don’t have to fight or wrestle with God, but we must wrestle before God with things.”
Beware of lazily giving up. Instead, put up a glorious fight and you will find yourself empowered with God’s strength.
Excerpts from My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers. http://utmost.org/wrestling-before-god/