Summary: There’s more than one kind of prayer; relational prayer, praise prayer, thanksgiving prayer, etc. But there’s also a deeper level of prayer few enter – into the office of intercession for the lives of people, the well-being of the Church, and the destiny of nations!
WRESTLING IN PRAYER
A. HUMOR - Crazy Kids Prayers
1. One boy was asked to pray for the dinner meal, and after closing his eyes he began: “I pledge allegiance to the flag…”
2. Brett Lutz tells that when he was growing up, his church beside train tracks. The same kid volunteered to pray every week and always concluded, "and please bless the train that it won't jump its tracks and destroy the church and kill us all."
3. Ginger Mia tells that when her sister was about to pray over dinner the phone rang. Her sister (about 13 y/o) jumped up, grabbed the phone and answered, "Dear Heavenly Father, we’re grateful for the food we’re about to receive..."
4. I heard about one kid who thought you could say one prayer over all your groceries after shopping, and that way you wouldn't have to worry about meal time prayers!
“Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured” Col. 4:12.
C. TOPIC: Today’s subject, “Wrestling in Prayer.”
I. INTERCESSORY PRAYER IS A STRUGGLE
A. THE MEANING OF “WRESTLING”
1. We always think of prayer as easy, but Paul described it as “wrestling” in Colossians 4:12 with the Greek word “agonize” (agonidzomai). This word has been translated into English as “agony” which means “extreme physical or mental suffering.” Is that what you think of when you think of prayer?
2. There’s more than one kind of prayer. There’s relational prayer. There’s praise prayer. There’s thanksgiving prayer, etc. But there’s also a deeper, more powerful level of prayer that few enter into – entering into the office of intercession for the lives of people, the well-being of Christ’s church, and the destiny of nations! That’s what Paul is referring to here!
3. This same Greek word is translated in Luke 13:24 as “STRIVE to enter at the narrow gate.” Paul used it to describe an Olympic contestant “STRIVING” to win, 1 Cor. 9:25.
4. It’s also translated as “FIGHT” in John 18:36, and as “FIGHT the good fight of faith” in 1 Tim. 6:12 and “I have fought a good FIGHT” in 2 Tim. 4:7.
5. All these descriptions, when applied to Epaphras, indicate that he was in a desperate struggle and contending as if in the Olympic games – in prayer!
6. Prayer is not just a pleasant, calming meditation. Paul described Epaphras as an alert wrestler who was trying to pin his opponent to the mat to gain the victory. Who was his opponent? Why was it a struggle?
B. WE’RE NOT WRESTLING AGAINST GOD
1. One thing is clear: Epaphras wasn’t struggling against God. It’s God’s will to do all that is good for us. God “works all things together for good to them that love God,” Rom. 8:28. His Word says, “No good thing will He withhold from him who walks uprightly” Ps. 84:11.
2. So prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance, but laying hold of God’s willingness.
C. APPEALING TO THE HIGHEST PERSON
1. While Richard Nixon was President of the USA, a man named David Urey’s wife was critically injured in a car accident. She needed to be moved by helicopter to a hospital, but there were no life-flight helicopters in those days.
2. He tried multiple hospitals and finally tried to charter a helicopter, though it was very expensive. But he could not get anyone to help him.
3. At last, as he cried out to God, an idea struck him: “Call the White House!” It was a bold idea, but he had nothing to lose, so he called the White House and explained his emergency. His plea found a receptive ear and as a result President Nixon’s private helicopter was dispatched to carry Urey’s wife. [Paul Lee Tan, 7,700 Illus., #4601]
4. Many times we won’t find any help in this world, but thank God, there’s someone higher we can call on! And He WILL hear your prayer! God says, “Call on Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor Me” Ps. 50:15.
II. SO WHY DO WE STRUGGLE IN PRAYER?
A. WE STRUGGLE WITH OUR OWN CARNAL NATURES
1. Praying is a struggle because it goes against our worldly and lazy natures. Our natural eyes don’t see the need of prayer. We don’t perceive the spiritual realm and what’s at stake if we DON’T pray, nor do we see the tremendous rewards of eternity that can be gained if we DO pray.
2. We’re like the servant of Elisha who didn’t see the Angels & Chariots of Fire all around the mountain, and so we don’t know that heavenly forces are available to aid us.