Spiritual Growth and Christian Living Resources

How to Wrestle in Prayer

  • Whitney Hopler Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
  • Updated Jan 11, 2010
How to Wrestle in Prayer

Editor's Note
: The following is a report on the practical applications of Eric and Leslie Ludy's new book,
 Wrestling Prayer: A Passionate Communion with God, (Harvest House, 2009).

When something bad happens, don't just throw out a few brief prayers for God's help, and then move on in discouragement if the situation doesn't change for the better. God wants you to wrestle with Him in prayer. By grabbing hold of God's promises and fighting to see them unfurled on Earth, you can help expand God's kingdom in our fallen world.

Here's how you can help fulfill God's purposes by wrestling in prayer for them to become realities in this world:

Don't accept defeat.  Be aware that evil wants to attack you constantly and pull you into despair that will lead to spiritual defeat.  Guard yourself from evil through prayer every day. Rely on the Holy Spirit's power to stand up and fight against Satan's intentions for your life. If you remain constantly on guard against evil, you'll emerge victorious and empowered to become offensive, rather than defensive, in the spiritual realm.

Build your faith.  Ask God to give you the faith you need to confidently trust that He will keep His promises, no matter what circumstances you face. Believe that God rewards those who diligently seek Him. Surround yourself with Christians who have strong faith - people who believe that God is as big as He says He is, and who have personally experienced His mighty power and faithfulness in their own lives. Keep a prayer journal in which you record specific prayers that you pray for daily until breakthroughs come. Write down the answers to your prayers when they come. Later, read your past journal entries to remind yourself of how God has been faithful to you.  Aim to build a faith that is unwavering, stouthearted, persistent, and immovable. Fully expect God to respond to your prayers.

Remove roadblocks to prayer.  Get rid of habits in your life that appeal to selfishness and give your time and attention fully to the work of God within you. Eliminate activities that interfere with you giving your best focus to prayer every day. Ask God to show you when you typically yield to selfish whims and desires during each day. Then pray for the strength to yield to the Holy Spirit's urgings at those times and in those situations, so you'll develop a habit of listening to God rather than just following your own agenda. Make regular appointments with God to pray, and follow through, whether or not you feel like praying at the time.

Break free from sin that tries to control you.  Pray for the strength you need to overcome whatever sin you repeatedly struggle with, such as lust, pride, fear, greed, doubt, gossip, or bitterness. Ask God to renew your mind and spirit. Get rid of sinful habits that interfere with your prayers, block the intimacy God wants you to have with Him, and gives Satan a vulnerable point through which to attack you.  For example, if you regularly read magazines or surf Internet sites that promote materialism, stop consuming those media messages that open the door for selfishness in your life. Repent of the sin or wrong habits that God brings to your attention, and ask Him to cleanse you from them.

Rely on God's strength.  You'll never lose a battle when you fight with God's strength flowing through you. So don't rely just on your own limited strength; pray for God to empower you to do battle in every situation through His Spirit working in you. When God anoints you with His power, you'll be able to look at life from His perspective, courageously fight evil, and share the Gospel message with confidence.

Ask properly.  When asking God for something in prayer, do so in the ways He prescribes in the Bible. Approach God with pure motives, seeking answers that reflect His will, rather than trying to convince God to follow your own agenda. To identify any faulty patterns in your prayer life, ask yourself: "Am I praying merely for my own comforts and desires?", "Do I ever pray when things are going well, or only when I'm in dire need?", "Is my motive in prayer my own happiness, or God's glory?", "Do I pray with an attitude of doubt, just going through the motions of prayer because it's the spiritual thing to do?" Repent of any wrong attitudes and ask God to help you approach prayer differently.  Avoid misguided, selfish, and doubting prayers. Instead, aim to pray in alignment with God's will and remember that He wants the best for you.

Don't just talk - listen.  Realize that prayer is more about listening to God than it is talking to Him. Train yourself to focus on God's messages to you.  Learn how to be still and pay attention to Him speaking. 

Make more time for prayer.  Evaluate your sleep schedule, leisure activities, and work schedule to see what change you might make to allow yourself more time to pray regularly. Stop wasting time on trivial activities (like watching too much TV at night) so you'll have more time available for prayer.

Learn more about prayer.  Ask God to teach you more about how He wants you to pray. Read respected books about prayer. Study the lives of some great Christian heroes and heroines and see what you can learn about prayer from their examples.

Pray with tenacity.  Be persistent, praying until God gives you answers. Don't give up praying about a situation until God's power comes into it. 

Pray audacious prayers.  Don't hesitate to pray for big things that only God can do. Invite Him to do something incredibly powerful in each situation that you bring before Him. Expect Him to do much more than you could even ask or think on your own.

Adapted from Wrestling Prayer: A Passionate Communion with God, copyright 2009 by Eric and Leslie Ludy.  Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Or., www.harvesthousepublishers.com
Eric Ludy is the bestselling author of The Bravehearted Gospel, When God Writes Your Love Story, and more than a dozen other books he has coauthored with his wife, Leslie. A sought-after speaker, he is passionate about restoring victorious Christianity to the modern church. Eric and Leslie appear regularly on numerous media outlets. They live in Colorado with their children. 
Leslie Ludy is the bestselling author of Set-Apart Femininity, When God Writes Your Love Story, Authentic Beauty, and more than a dozen other books she has coauthored with her husband, Eric. She reaches thousands of young women each year and is passionate about helping them discover Christ's design for their lives. Leslie and Eric live with their children in Colorado.

Original publication date: January 5, 2010