Wrestling with Abba Father

And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Galatians 4:6 (NKJV)

It was the match of all time.  In one corner was Jacob, the supplanter, the deceiver, the polygamist.  In the other corner was the Angel of God, the pre-incarnate Son Himself, the Mighty, all-powerful One, Creator and King of the Universe.  They met on the open plain.  Jacob had sent his wives and children ahead.  He was alone, much the same as his first journey when he saw the ladder going up to heaven (Genesis 18:10-22). Yet this time, he had to wrestle for a blessing.  The odds were stacked against him.  The angels placed their bets on God the Father, and in the end, guess who won? (Genesis 32:22-32).  

Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. 

God: “Let Me go, for the day breaks.”

Jacob: “I will not let You go unless You bless me!”

God: “What is your name?”

Jacob: “Jacob.”

God:Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”  Genesis 32:24-28 (NKJV)

If ever there was a time in history where we need to wrestle with God and prevail, ’tis now. If ever there was a time for people to cry out, “Abba, Father!” ’tis now! With every page of the newspaper, with every change of the channel or website, with every inspection of our cell phones, we come across bad news… heart-breaking stories, immorality, deaths, mandates, lies, deception, tyranny… It is often so much, we don’t even want to look at it! But God the Father already knows all about it and He is waiting for us to call Him. So, let’s not keep Him waiting any longer, let’s call on the Lord today!

Hear my cry, O God;
Attend to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Psalm 61:1-2 (NKJV)

What should we pray for, and what should we cry about? God says we can ask anything in His Name, and He will do it (John 14:14). Dear One, you may cry out to God with whatever He puts upon your heart, whatever the Holy Spirit leads you to pray. When King Hezekiah received bad news in 2 Kings 19, he took it to the temple and spread it before the Lord. We can do that, too, spread your newspaper or cell phone before the Lord and pray King Hezekiah’s prayer in 2 Kings 19:16,19:

“Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God…  O Lord our God, I pray, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the Lord God, You alone.” 2 Kings 19:16, 19 (NKJV)

What am I wrestle for right now? Our children and grandchildren, our country, healing for loved ones, salvation for so many, for My TEA CUPP mission, for the USA, for Israel, for healing for the nations… If you need ideas for your wrestling prayers, Scripture tells us many things about which we can pray,,,

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— Ephesians 6:18 (NKJV)

And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.  Matthew 24:20 (NKJV)

Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.  Luke 21:36 (NKJV)

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
May they prosper who love you.  Psalm 122:6 (NKJV)

…Therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left. 2 Kings 19:4, Isaiah 37:4 (NKJV)

Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. Romans 10:1(NKJV)

…pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you. Matthew 5:44 (NKJV)

…pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Matthew 9:38 (NKJV)

Ask the Lord for rain in the time of the latter rain. The Lord will make lashing clouds… Zechariah 10:1 (NKJV)

I was asked recently if my prayers bring me peace and I had to stop and think for a minute.  I come to Him everyday with a heart heavy-laden with the concerns of this world, and He promises He will give me rest and carry my burden for me (Matthew 11:28-30).  When I’ve prayed every prayer and unloaded my concerns, I should walk away with the peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). 

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.  Matthew 11:28-30 (NKJV)

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)

Why don’t we always feel that peace?  Perhaps it’s because we’ve been wrestling in prayer. Perhaps we are taking all the cares of the world upon ourselves.  Our prayers are more like those of Jesus before He went to the Cross. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He was praying so hard, His sweat was like drops of blood (Luke 22:44).  Or perhaps, for all our wrestling, we are hurt like Jacob, who wrestled the Angel, receiving a life-long injury, yet at the same time, he was given the blessing of the Father for all eternity. Why does prayer often hurt so much?  Because we are not wrestling with our brother or sister or neighbor or even the government, our battle is against principalities (Ephesians 6:12), powers, rulers of the darkness, and spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavens whom we can’t even see, but God sees and knows all about them. 

When we wrestle for the Lord here on earth, we are joining in the battles already in progress up above.  Do you remember when Daniel started praying for his people in Daniel 9 and 10?  It took almost three weeks for an answer to come. When the angel Gabriel arrived, he declared that he had left the moment Daniel had started praying three weeks before, but had been detained by evil angels and the angel Michael had to assist him (Daniel 10: 12-14).  It seems those evil angels have been busy detaining the answers to our prayers, and so we must keep praying, just as Daniel did, and hold onto to God until He gives us a blessing, just as Jacob did, and keep sweating those drops of blood in prayer, just as our dear Savior Jesus did before He went to the Cross on our behalf, trusting that peace and rest is coming on the other side.

Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.  Daniel 12:10 (NKJV) 

And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.  Luke 22:44 (NKJV)

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Oswald Chambers said, “Prayer is not preparation for the battle, prayer is the battle.” Dear Ladies, thank you for joining Jesus on the battlefield every morning in prayer for your loved ones, our nation, and our world. Keep your armor on! Keep wrestling!  Always looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13). Jesus is coming soon (Joel 2:1)! God bless you always!  

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ1 Corinthians 15:57 (NKJV)

He took his brother by the heel in the womb,
And in his strength he struggled with God.
Yes, he struggled with the Angel and prevailed;
He wept, and sought favor from Him… Hosea 12:3-4 (NKJV)

And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” Mark 14:36 (NKJV)

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”  Romans 8:15 (NKJV)

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
You who lead Joseph like a flock;
You who dwell between the cherubim, shine forth!  Psalm 80:1 (NKJV)

But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.  1 Peter 4:7 (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982
 
To my faithful readers: I’m so sorry to keep you waiting on this devotion, I’ve been busy wrestling with God :-).  

The Persistent Widow Petitions

This week, I continue sharing keynote chapters from my next book, More TEA CUPP Prayers (Thank you for your prayers for me to finish it!). Each weekly devotion is focused on a Bible lady to draw you into your prayer time with Jesus.  I pray these are a blessing for you!

Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart. Luke 18:1 (NKJV)

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  Matthew 7:7 (NKJV)

She asked and she kept on asking. She sought and she kept on seeking.  She knocked and she kept on knocking.  Our final letter of the TEA CUPP, “P” for Petitions, is illustrated most aptly by this Bible lady, the Persistent Widow of Luke 18.

To learn about this part of prayer, we visit Jesus teaching His disciples through another parable. This time He was teaching them to pray and not to give up.  His story was about a dear widow who was desperate for help. Perhaps you can sympathize with this lady, either being a widow or in need, you know the panicky feeling.

Here was a lady in a hopeless situation. She had lost her husband and needed assistance.  This lady did not let her circumstances define her. She took her case to the only one she knew, a judge who was dreadfully evil. She boldly went to the judge and pleaded over and over for help against her adversary.  When at first he wouldn’t help her, the widow continued to knock at his door and ask. Finally, to get her to leave him in peace, the judge granted this woman’s request. That judge did not respond because he was kind and caring, but because he wanted her to stop bothering him.  If an evil judge can help a poor lady, how much more will our heavenly Father who loves and cherishes us. 

Jesus tells us, “How much more will your Father in heaven” help us when we call upon Him (Matthew 7:11). For He is not a wicked judge, but a loving Father. James tells us, “You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2). Let’s ask God for all that is on our hearts and persevere and not give up, following the example of the persistent widow.

Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:6-8 (NKJV)

What am I petitioning the Lord Jesus, our righteous Judge, for right now?  For so many things…an end to abortion, healing for dear ones, healing for our nation and world, an end to covid and vaccines and masks and fear, salvation for loved ones and our nation…  What has God shown me in His Word?  One day in Exodus 28 I read about the priestly garments the gifted artisans made for Aaron and his sons.  On their shoulders and breast plates they carried the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, bearing their names before the Lord; and so I bear up the names of my family and loved ones to Jesus continually.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read the entire parable of the Persistent Widow in Luke 18:1-8 today.  Dear One, be like this brave lady! Cry out day and night to God with your PETITIONS.  We know He wants to hear our prayers because Jesus told this parable, encouraging us to pray.  Pour your heart out to Him in prayer, and may Jesus find you faithful when He comes. 

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV)

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. Ephesians 6:18 (NKJV)

In whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.  Ephesians 3:12 (NKJV)

Lord my God, in You I put my trust;
Save me from all those who persecute me;
And deliver me.  Psalm 7:1 (NKJV)

Hear a just cause, O Lord,
Attend to my cry;
Give ear to my prayer which is not from deceitful lips.  Psalm 17:1 (NKJV)

Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us,
Just as we hope in You.  Psalm 33:22 (NKJV)

Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.  Revelation 3:10 (NKJV)

Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers.  If you enjoyed today’s devotion, you might also like to read other excepts from my next book:  Esther’s Great CallingThe Red Cord: Rahab’s StoryWashed Clean like Mary Magdalene, and Exalting Like the Alabaster Lady and Promises from Under the Table.

Scripture from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson

 

A One Verse Prayer

But I am poor and needy;
Yet the Lord thinks upon me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
Do not delay, O my God. Psalm 40:17 (NKJV)

I love it when one verse says it all.  Memorize this verse, Psalm 40:17, and you will have a prayer on your lips whenever you need it!  

But I am poor and needy... this is UNDERSTANDING our story, we are poor and needy. Without Jesus we have nothing. He provides everything we need, food, clothing, family, shelter, salvation… We can spend time THANKING the Lord for His many blessings. It can also be a time for ADMITTING our sins. We are poor because of our sins and desperately need a Savior, Jesus, to rescue us.

Yet the Lord thinks upon me... let us claim this wonderful PROMISE! The Lord is thinking about you! He is thinking about me. He never stops thinking about us. Imagine that, here we are, lost in our troubles, yet God , the Creator of the whole universe is thinking about us. Wow!

You are my help and my deliverer here again we can claim God’s PROMISE to help us and deliver us from whatever we are facing. And we join the voices through eternity, EXALTING our God, our Helper, our Deliverer.

Do not delay, O my God... and finally, the plea from one who depends on God for all her needs. Do not delay, O my God. I pour out my PETITIONS before you. Hear the cry of my heart. Take care of all my loved ones, my neighbors, all my troubles, our nation and world today. Do not delay, O my God.

Today’s TEA CUPP: Write Psalm 40:17 in your prayer journal today and every day this week. Memorize it. Pray it as you are driving or washing dishes or working in the garden or taking a shower. Use this one verse to cry out to the Lord.

But I am poor and needy;
Yet the Lord thinks upon me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
Do not delay, O my God. Psalm 40:17 (NKJV)

Scripture taken the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson