Sometimes God only reveals His will to us or answers our prayers when we first wrestle with Him in prayer.
“That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, ‘Let me go, for it is daybreak.’ But Jacob replied, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’ The man asked him, ‘What is your name?’ ‘Jacob,’ he answered. Then the man said, ‘Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.’”—Genesis 32: 22-28
We pick up the story about Jacob while he is on his way back home with his father Isaac. At this point, he knew that his brother Esau had sworn to kill him when he saw him again. He was understandably afraid to return home.
So Jacob prayed, asking God to save him from the hand of his brother (Genesis 32:9). It was now the night before Jacob met Esau — and God revealed Himself to Jacob once again.
Everything that God had been doing in Jacob’s life so far had been preparing him for a life-changing encounter which had an importance far beyond Jacob’s life in God’s master plan of salvation.
Jacob wrestled with God. Everywhere else in Genesis, when God meets with people, we are told it is in a dream. This was not a dream. Jacob met with God and wrestled with God, who appeared in human form. Jacob would not let go until He blessed him. And indeed, God blessed him more wonderfully that he could possibly imagine.
In verse 28, the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” It is suggested that the name Israel probably means “he who struggles with God”.
Jacob met with God face to face. It was a unique encounter. Sometimes if we want God to bless us, or bless, save and heal others, we will have to do some wrestling — wrestling in prayer, clinging on to God’s promises until they are fulfilled in our lives, and in the lives of others.
In Colossians chapter 4, Paul writes in verse two, “Devote yourself to prayer” — and in verse 3 he says, “pray for us too.” Then in verse 12, he speaks of Epaphras, a servant of Jesus Christ. Paul says of Epaphras, “he is always wrestling in prayer for you that you may stand firm in the will of God, mature and fully assured.”
If we want God to answer our prayers — if we want God to bless us, our family, our church, and our nation — we need to be ready to wrestle with God. Daniel wrestled with God in prayer for three weeks. Abraham prayed like that in interceding for Sodom and Gomorrah. And the list goes on.
What do you really need from God right now? What blessing do you want from God? How badly do you want it? There are times when God only releases His blessings on us after a season of prolonged and even painful wrestling with Him.
Lord God, teach me to wrestle with you in prayer. Show me who, and what I am to wrestle for. You have blessed me, but I do believe there is more that You want to give me. So I devote myself to prayer and offer grateful thanks in anticipation for what is to come. In Jesus’ name I pray.
Prayer Points for May 2021
1. Pray for Revival and Transformation for Australia
2. Pray for 1 Billion people worldwide to hear the Gospel
3. Share the Good News of Jesus with 5 people
Along with his wife Jan, James Condon was the Commissioner of the Salvation Army’s Eastern Territory, covering New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT for 45 years, until he retired in 2016. James is now involved in leading the National Day of Prayer and Fasting.
We invite you to join the daily 1-hour Zoom video National Prayer Call every night:
DATES: 1st–31st May 2021
TIME: 8pm-9pm AEST
ZOOM URL LINK: https://zoom.us/j/776881184
ZOOM MEETING ID: 776881184
See Zoom tutorial here.
Daily devotions brought to you by the Canberra Declaration.