Wrestling in Prayer
Gen. 32:24-25, ‘’Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. 25 Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him.‘’
Jacob got the new name of Israel here at the ‘ford Jabbok’. He was a man who got divine promises even while he was in his mother’s womb and he had a passion to receive those promises by hook or by crook. He tried to get those promises through deceit . He deceived his brother to get the blessing of the first born, and then later his father. But the Lord had His eye upon him. His mercy protected and provided for him. God saw his heart and brought to a place and time where he was humbled to receive the promises in the right way. This was the time, where Jacob had to wrestle with the angel of God. We all are the Israelites of the New Testament. We have been called and sanctified through faith in Christ Jesus. He has blessed us with many promises, the greatest of them being the promise of eternal life. And we all have a time when we wrestle with the Lord during which we are humbled to receive His promises in the right way.
Wrestling here is not to be taken in the physical realm. The thoughts, attitudes, and our deep desires clash with the divine ones. But as we grow in prayers, we are broken so that the divine nature overpowers us so much, that makes us submit completely. This the time of transformation, which in turn lifts us up spiritually. Through fervent prayers, certain hard coverings are broken and the heart is softened enough to discern and understand the divine calling over us. Wrestling in prayers is wrestling against the powers of darkness that can prevail over our prayer life. Eph.6:12 , ‘’For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of [c]the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.’’
Jacob was a rich man when he returned from Laban’s house to his father’s place. He had wives, children and a lot of substance with him. Yet he knew that he missed something in his life. He now longed for it. He knew that he would receive it from the Lord. He was well prepared to meet his brother, Esau. But more than his preparations, he needed a favor from the Lord. He needed His very presence and assurance. Let’s focus on three attitudes in this passage.
- Attitude towards God : Jacob was left alone, and it was night time. He had sent his family and the whole troop ahead and he himself had stayed back. Surely, he was a timid and fearful person to send his own family ahead and to hide himself from Esau. He hoped to please Esau with gifts and presents. He had got many blessings through deceit but now he could not have God’s presence in that way. There are certain things in our spiritual life which needs to be done all alone. We need to separate ourselves to stand before our creator all alone. This is the time and place where we uncover ourselves before the divine light. There is nothing which can be hidden before Him. It was Jacob’s time to submit completely before the Lord. Hence, he caught hold of the throne of grace in such a way that he would not let the angel of the Lord go without blessing him. 32:26, ‘’ And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks. “But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” This was Jacob’s confidence and faith in the Lord. He knew that God would certainly bless him. He broke the boundaries of his own limitations and fears by this trust in the Lord. This attitude of Jacob made him an overcomer. This attitude towards God need to be instilled in us to conquer every tough situation. People around might not be able understand and accept us as we are. But we have a God who is always willing to accept us, to hear us and to answer us. Let this truth get deeply engraved in our hearts so much so that we are free from all the bondages of fear and doubt which weakens us time to time. Jacob had a huge group of people with him, including his wives and children. But none could understand his heart and his cry. He was unable to face his own brother. Gen.32:7 says that he was greatly afraid and distressed. None could see this heart except God. Today, from whom are we expecting ? Let’s stop looking around and look up to the owner of heavens and the earth.
- Attitude towards pain : Gen.32:25, ‘’Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. ‘’ Now Jacob was in much physical pain. When the joints are dislocated, the pain is said to be unbearable. But here, Jacob is not focusing on that pain. His focus and earnestness to receive the divine blessing was so much that comparatively, the physical pain he went through seemed to be bearable or smaller. 8:18, “8 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Only such an attitude can give us the strength to bear all the pain and sufferings of this world. And this is of utmost importance to be an overcomer.
To understand the glory of eternal riches, we need to pray like Apostle Paul prayed in Ephesians 1: 18. ‘’ the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,….’’ This attitude strengthens the inner person to respond in the right way in every situation, favorable and unfavorable. This was what enabled the apostles to rejoice in the midst of persecution. Jacob’s inner eyes were being opened during this wrestling time to behold the glory of divine blessings. When we pray fervently, God opens our inner eyes to see certain things which we never saw or understood earlier.
- Attitude towards sin : Gen.32:27, ‘’So He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.” Jacob had deceived his brother and his father to receive the blessings of the first born. 27:18-19, ‘’So he went to his father and said, “My father.” And he said, “Here I am. Who are you, my son?” Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn; I have done just as you told me; please arise, sit and eat of my game, that your soul may bless me.” Now when Jacob wrestled with the angel of the Lord for His blessings, he needed to be convicted of his sins first. There is no way that the angel of the Lord did not know Jacob’s name. But to convict him of the very sins which he had committed in his earlier days, the angel asked him his name. For his sins were a block to the divine blessings to come over his life. In Genesis 27, Jacob covered himself with the skin of the animal to prove the lie he had told his father that he was Esau. But here, before the Lord, he was quick to confess his name honestly. In other words, he was quick to confess his sins and repent of the same.
Most of us struggle in this area. The flesh has a tendency to justify one’s own acts. But each time we do that, knowingly and unknowingly our heart gets hardened. David was a king when he was convicted of the sin of adultery. His confession of this sin could bring him down in the sight of the people. He could have lost his power. But having a heart after God, he was quick to confess and repent of his sins. This preserved his soul and also his blessings. On the other hand, King Saul justified himself time and again, thus allowing his heart to be hardened to such an extent, that the Spirit of the Lord departed from him. Being quick in confessing and repenting one’s sins is the result of mortifying the ego of the flesh by the power of His Spirit and only such lives become overcomers.
Gen.32: 23-24 says that Jacob had sent his entire family and troop ahead before him while he himself stayed back in Jabbok. But after this encounter with God, Gen.33:3 says that he passed over the entire troop to meet Esau. Earlier, he was a timid and fearful person. But now the presence of the Lord came upon him which made him strong and courageous. 2 Tim.1:7, ‘’For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of love, power and of a sound mind.’’
Let’s realize that this is the night time of this world. Each day is getting tougher to live. We are all alone. None around us nor our families can be with us all the time. More than physical sickness, today we are seeing people broken up mentally. Nations are unable to cope up with things happening in this world. The end days have come and the Lord’s coming is no near. In order to sustain spiritually in His grace till the end, we all need His Spirit of love, power and of sound mind more than anything else in this world. And to receive this, let’s realize that it’s time to wrestle in fervent prayers. Let’s keep asking, seeking, and knocking the doors of heaven till we receive the fullness of His Spirit on a daily basis. Let’s put our entire trust in His Word. Let’s realize that nothing is greater than His own presence in our lives. Let’s be quick to confess and repent all our sins. Jacob was transformed to Israel. He got this name for as a prince he had power with God and men and had prevailed(Gen.32:28). This power is of none else than the power of Holy Spirit. Only His Spirit makes us powerful and to prevail over our situations. Only His Spirit empowers us to pray fervently in all situations. We can overcome and prevail in this world only through His anointment. Let’s spend these days more in fervent prayers, praying and interceding for spiritual anointment for ourselves and all in this world. Only a true Israelite i.e. a person lead by His Spirit can overcome.
God bless us all
The Lord is His name !
Ex. 2 : 23-25, ‘’So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them.’’ The Egyptians afflicted the Israelites for they feared that they would outgrow in number and would join their enemies in case of any attack. But the Israelites kept […]
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Exaltation by Robin Thomas , Praise & Worship by The Remnant & Sermon by Pastor George .W. Macharia (Kenya)
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CTRR Online Service – 16th October 2020
There are times when life is overwhelming, when all we have is questions. In those moments, hope can feel far away. The great thing about prayer is that it shifts our perspective toward the One who stands ready to listen. No matter what you’re facing, we’d love to pray with you!