Impacting Cities & Communities thru Prayer
A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities
There are opposing opinions to the phrase that is commonly used regarding a higher intensity in intercession which is “wrestling in prayer”. I’ve used it many times myself when discussing or preaching on that aspect of breaking through with God. One view holds that the battle has already been won two thousand years ago at Calvary and we only need now to walk in our positional victory of rest seated with Christ in heavenly places. And to that I wholeheartedly say, “amen”. The other train of thought is that we are warriors in Christ’s army doing major warfare against a cunning and ruthless enemy who has plundered that which is ours and has taken our loved ones captive and we wrestle in violent prayer against these principalities and powers of darkness. And to that I also wholeheartedly say “amen”. The reality is both views are scriptural. Mere opinion or subjectivity doesn’t count—God’s Word, forever settled in heaven, does. We see this principle of ‘rest’ in our w‘rest’ling in Exodus 14:13 when Moses told the children of Israel to “stand still and see the salvation of the Lord”, which was their position of rest. But only three verses later, in Exodus 14:16, God ushered this command to Moses, “Lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea, and divide it” which was an act of wrestling for the prophet of God on behalf of the Hebrews.
I believe that the account of Jacob wrestling with the Angel in Genesis 32 is a spiritual representation of our battle as well to lay hold of God for that which can only be obtained through faith and perseverance. Jacob earnestly prayed, “I will not let you go until you bless me!” and Jacob’s overcoming faith and relentless persistence was powerfully transformed into simply clinging to God in a position of rest when he could no longer fight. There was ‘rest’ in Jacob’s w‘rest’ling after he had done all that he could do, even as Paul the apostle instructed us in Ephesians 6:13, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Stand your ground, soldiers of Christ and rest in your position of victory while you fight the good fight of faith! To each church in Revelation, Jesus assured His people that to those who would overcome, would be given great blessings, authority, power, reward and kingdom rule. Overcoming suggests intense opposition from an enemy out to thwart you in your advance.
It’s interesting that Christ promised the highest position of honour and authority in Heaven’s domain to none other than the Laodicean Church, the very church that received the strongest rebuke from Jesus. “To him that overcomes, will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” (Rev 3:21). Notice that Jesus compares their overcoming to His own—“even as I also overcame”. What did Jesus overcome? The greatest conflict of the ages against the unrestrained powers of hell! Jesus knew the reality of wrestling in prayer better than any of us in the garden when He sweated great drops of blood being in such agony as described in Hebrews 5:7 from the Message Bible, “While he lived on earth, anticipating death, Jesus cried out in pain and wept in sorrow as he offered up priestly prayers to God”. This is the scene of Christ’s passion in the garden of Gethsemane on the night of His betrayal and arrest, but we must not overlook a tiny verse in Luke 22 which is easily skimmed over, which says, “And there appeared an angel unto Him from heaven, strengthening Him”. (Luke 22:43). That was the Lord’s position of rest during His unimaginable ordeal of wrestling with His determined fate as the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world. Jesus overcame!
As the “last days” church, we are required to overcome the very same raging battle against our soul and our salvation. Satan is playing for keeps and he is even now orchestrating his all-out assault against the Church in a last ditch attempt to destroy as many of God’s people as he can. The time has now come when the devil will vehemently attack your faith like never before—he will hurl his fiery arrows of doubt and bitterness and unforgiveness at you with unbridled fierceness—he will oppress your mind with thoughts of lust and adultery—he will bombard your heart and mind with demonic fear and anxiety—he will endeavour to convince you that God has forsaken you—he will cause your friends and even your family to betray you and to be offended at you because of your godly stand for truth and righteousness—but worse than any of that, the devil will attempt to bring you down through a sense of self-achievement and self-satisfaction—the very temptation he effectively perpetrated against the Church in Laodicea and to their shame, it worked! “We are rich and successful and have everything we need!” That is the very battle in this Laodicean age that we must overcome as we ‘rest’ in our w‘rest’ling. In a prophetic time of great departure from the faith, the very overcoming faith which Jude exhorts us to earnestly contend for, our assured position of victory is grounded in two unshakable claims—Claim #1- the immutable Word of God, which is our sword with which we fight the onslaught of lies and deception and, Claim #2- the sin-cleansing blood of Jesus Christ! “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Rev 12:11). It is in this spiritual state of supernatural rest with an unshakable faith in Christ’s victory over sin and the grave that we can wrestle against the hordes of hell even unto death, Rest in that assurance of victory as you fight this final good fight of faith, for “this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith”. Amen!