I walk with a limp.
You probably wouldn’t notice it if you met me, but it’s there.
Like all injuries, it bothers me more some days than others.
But that’s okay, on bothersome days my limp reminds me of God’s unfailing love and faithfulness.
Maybe you walk with a limp too.
I’m not talking about an actual hitch in your step, I’m talking about an emotional yielding that makes you look at life a little differently.
What do I mean?
Well, if you’ve ever had fear bring you to your knees for a night or a season of intense prayer, a time when you needed to wrestle with God in prayer, you just may walk with a limp, too.
How do I know?
God saw to it that we would have an account in Genesis as an example.
Jacob was returning home to his brother. The last he knew about Esau, he hated him and had threatened to kill him. Understandably, Jacob was afraid.
As he journeyed closer to home, his fear increased … so he turned to the Lord in prayer…
“O God of my grandfather Abraham, and God of my father, Isaac—O Lord, you told me, ‘Return to your own land and to your relatives.’ And you promised me, ‘I will treat you kindly.’ I am not worthy of all the unfailing love and faithfulness you have shown to me, your servant. When I left home and crossed the Jordan River, I owned nothing except a walking stick. Now my household fills two large camps! O Lord, please rescue me from the hand of my brother, Esau. I am afraid that he is coming to attack me, along with my wives and children.Genesis 32:9b–11
Fear is a great motivator! It compelled Jacob to send gifts ahead trying to appease his brother and prompted him to move his family to a place of safety.
Then when he was alone, it seems fear invaded once again but I love this next part … I believe the part God wanted us to know about emotional limping.
This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break. When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket. Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!”Genesis 32:24–26
Fear can motivate us to wrestle with God…
Praying through a long and lonely night—unwilling to give up.
When things like illness, infertility, broken relationships, financial needs, loss, and hardships, loom large, dark, and threatening … we wrestle.
I love Jacob’s next words…
“I will not let go unless you bless me.”Genesis 32:26
It doesn’t say Jacob insisted on a promise of protection or prosperity for his family.
He asked for a blessing.
And the following occurred…
“Then he blessed Jacob there. Jacob named the place Peniel (which means “face of God”), for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.”Genesis 32:29b–30
Wrestling prayer will leave you blessed and limping.
Jacob cried out to God so intently that it caused a wrestling match of prayer that ended with a blessing and a limp.
The sun was rising as Jacob left Peniel, and he was limping because of the injury to his hip.Genesis 32:31
Although, from this account, you and I believe that Jacob actually wrestled with God and his limp was a daily reminder of it. We can learn a lot about emotional and spiritual limping from Jacob’s story.
You see, I’ve spent nights in pleading wrestling prayer.
Sometimes my story has ended much like Jacob’s, whose brother, Esau, forgave and embraced him. Sometimes the Lord has answered my prayers with a “yes.” Sometimes the answer has been “not now.” And sometimes, He has replied with a “no.”
But the blessing – the blessing is always seeing the face of God. Feeling His presence. Knowing that He invites you and me to honestly come to Him in prayer when our hearts and minds are full of fear and life is full of uncertainty.
You see, in those moments of wrestling prayer, I have felt His presence. In those moments He has held me close and assured me of His love and said … “whatever I allow, I will never let you go because I love you.” In those moments He blesses us . . . and we limp.
My limp always makes me lean in a little closer and helps me remember His promise…
“I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”Hebrews 13:5
“The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”Hebrews 13:6
So, the next time I’m afraid, I will wrestle in prayer because I’m confident of the best blessing of all … the Lord will never fail me or forsake me whatever is going on in my life.
And friend, there is another blessing we have as prayer wrestlers…
By God’s grace, we aren’t alone! God not only allows, He encourages us to pray for one another.
And today, I want to stop and thank those of you who faithfully pray for others who wrestle with God.
The Blessing Counters Pray Page launched in April of 2016.
Since that time, more than 2300 prayer requests have been added and then lifted before God’s throne of grace.
To those of you who share your hearts and allow us to pray for you … thank you!
And to those of you who have taken time from your busy schedules to pray for the needs of people you have never met … thank you!!
Why did I start the Blessing Counters Pray Page? Why do people come and ask for prayer? Why do others pray? Why?
Because prayer is a blessing!
Jesus modeled prayer…
Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.Mark 1:35
One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and He prayed to God all night.Luke 6:12
He taught us what and how to pray…
When you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.Matthew 6:6
Pray like this:Matthew 6:9–14
Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.
He even told us to “wrestle.”
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.Matthew 7:7
So we pray because…
- Prayer is one of the ways we can express our gratitude for all God has done for us in the past.
- Prayer acknowledges our dependence on God.
- Prayer grows our faith.
- Prayer is an important weapon in spiritual warfare.
- Prayer surrenders the need to the One who is able to do the impossible.
But best of all…
Prayer is communicating with the God of the universe … Lord of all, Creator, Savior, and Comforter.
You see, the One to whom we pray to a gracious, merciful, and loving.
And because of that … alone or together, we wrestle with God to receive the blessing.
Thank you for your willingness to keep on asking, to keep on seeking, and to keep on knocking for complete strangers on The Blessing Counters Prayer Page. Your prayers are part of the blessing!
Thank you so much for joining me today.
And a thank you to BibleGateway.com for sources.
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