Speaking Of Life 1047 | Wrestling in Prayer
Don’t you hate it when a vending machine refuses to give you what you paid for? Your snack is just dangling there—almost taunting you. Full disclosure, I’ve been known to practically wrestle a vending machine into compliance.
Likewise, don’t you hate it when you are praying for something and you don’t get what you want? Again, full disclosure, I’ve also been known to wrestle in prayer, trying to get God to see things my way.
But here’s the deal. God is not a vending machine, and prayer is not the money you put in to get what you want. However, in the case of prayer, wrestling still works. Can I share a personal story?
Several years ago, my mother was hospitalized for pneumonia and lung complications due to previous cancer radiation treatments. It was hard watching Mom fight to get better as complications piled up. Infection was added to the pneumonia and antibiotics seemed unable to stop it.
Even though we were told the damage to her lungs was permanent, I urged mom to fight and then I prayed and prayed and prayed. A few days later – my mom lost the battle. Although my prayer wrestling didn’t provide me the answer I wanted, it did bring me closer to God. I was able to find rest and peace knowing that Jesus was there—holding my mother’s hands and my hands through it all.
Scripture is clear that God does not intend to withhold good things from his children. But Scripture is also clear that the best thing for us is knowing God for WHO he is. Prayer is one of the ways the Lord gives himself to us to be known.
Persistent prayer is like wrestling with that vending machine. Only, in our wrestling we come to know that God is not some cold, arbitrary machine trying to get our money. We come to find that he is our loving Father whose chief aim is to give himself to us in a face to face relationship. As we wrestle with him in prayer, we grow to trust him with our most tender wounds and our deepest desires. Look how the prayer in Psalm 121 is grounded in that special kind of knowing of the Lord.
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber;” (Psalm 121:1-3 NIV)
If you ever feel like giving up on prayer, keep wrestling. More often than you realize, you will find you get more than you ask for.
I’m Jeff Broadnax, Speaking of Life