Summary: A brief outline on which to build a prayer-night sermon.
WRESTLING IN PRAYER
Jacob's wrestling, whilst factual and historical, is nevertheless a metaphor for prayer.
1. The place name, Jabbok, means pouring out, or emptying.
This reminds me of the self-emptying of Christ (Philippians 2:7-8).
It also reminds me of Jesus' prayer life, as portrayed in the Gospels.
Jabbok was a ford, a crossing place, but also, incidentally, a place where God and man met.
There Jacob wrestled with a man: surely indeed, he wrestled with the Lord, in a prayer of disciplined endurance (Genesis 32:24).
2. When God meets with us, it puts us all out of joint: until Jesus puts us back together again.
For Jacob this was not just metaphorical, but literal: a prayer of painful perseverance (Genesis 32:25).
3. We need to exercise a certain tenacity in prayer, not easily giving up.
Jacob was persistent in prayer, refusing to let his opponent go until he procured the desired blessing (Genesis 32:26).
4. Thereby Jacob - whose name means 'usurper' - had power to prevail with God and man.
Jesus the great intermediary, has power with God and man, and empowers us to prevail with God and man.
Jacob received a new name, Israel, which means 'a prince with God' (Genesis 32:27-28).
There is a new name written in Christ's kingdom for those who overcome (Revelation 2:17).
5. Such outpouring of ourselves, painful perseverance, tenacity in prayer - will cause us also to prevail.
Thus, like Jacob, we will procure the blessing (Genesis 32:29).