Growing up, I can remember wrestling with my dad and brother in the living room floor. We would battle and laugh until Mom would break us up before her furniture was demolished, and we shook the house down. The memory makes me smile, as I think back to those fun times. And so, when I found the word wrestling in Colossians 4:12, I was intrigued:
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.
What does wrestling in prayer mean? I did some research, and the word wrestling in Greek translates to a definition of striving earnestly to the point of agony. In his prayers, Epaphras not only strived to pray, but did so to the point of agony. And so we must ask, do prayer and agony really go hand-in-hand?
When we are wrestling in prayer, they absolutely go together.
Prayer, in the way Epaphras utilizes it, takes work. To pray to the fullest potential takes preparation of our hearts and minds, repentance, reading God’s Word, sometimes fasting, and making time to go to the Lord repeatedly. It’s not just praying for ourselves, but others too. This kind of praying, with an earnest struggle, can provoke feelings of agony.
And then there is the waiting.
God’s timing is often different than our own, but perfect nonetheless. The results of our prayers usually take time and patience. But in the meantime, the waiting can be agonizing.
I have been there, friend. And as we wrestle in prayer, fighting against a fallen world, sin, and the schemes of Satan, agony can be an emotion we face.
But there is Hope. We don’t wrestle alone. Rest assured, if you are feeling agony in your prayers right now, God is near. (Psalm 119:151)
He hears you. (John 9:31)
He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)
He comforts you. (2 Corinthians 1:4)
He will give you strength. (Philippians 4:13)
He will provide wisdom and understanding. (Colossians 3:12)
And, please, don’t let the moments of agony keep you from wrestling in prayer. Because the rewards your prayers bring are lasting blessings. These blessings far outweigh any agony we face.
As I think back to those days where mom was the referee of three rowdy humans in her living room, it’s clear wrestling means more to my life than just an aging memory. It was important to Epaphras. It was important to Paul, the man Epaphras served alongside. And it is still important to God.
Let’s keep striving. Let’s keep praying. Let’s keep wrestling.
Interested in seeing how Jesus wrestled in prayer? He knew agony as well. Read HERE.