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On Throwing in the Towel

Trade in your sweaty towel for a victory banner.

 

I hate wrestling…the sport and the real life kind. Simply defined, it’s a simple concept. Two opponents wrestle until one is declared the winner. The winner of any wrestling bout is the person who has the better technique, strength and overall fitness. Sweaty, bacterial laden bodies exerting extreme amounts of pressure on the other, forcing the opponent into a decline….not my idea of fun.
Yet, this is exactly what I do in the spirit realm when my mind, body, and spirit engage in prayer.
Focused, fervent, stick-to-it prayer times are sadly the exception and not the rule in my life. Oh yes, I will pray when someone is in need and I will pray when I am going through yet another trial. But I have noticed in scripture there is another type of prayer, an effective prayer that my slowly sanctified mind wants desperately to grab a hold of.
We live in an instantly gratified society that scoffs at slow but steady progress. We want it NOW. Instant money at the ATM, instant relief from headaches, same day printed photos, 24 hour deliveries…you get the point. The very act of sitting quietly, waiting upon the Lord and casting our cares upon Him, I believe to many, appear to just be a waste of time. If you don’t believe me, try launching a prayer group and see how many people show up. Then invite the same people for dinner and a game night. I don’t say this in judgment, only observation. We are distracted, to say the least, and wanting instant results to our demise.
Stay with me here while I give you some eye opening examples of what our forebears’ ideas of prayer were.
Take for example, Epaphras (I like this guy so much, if I had known earlier, I would have named my firstborn after him!)…This is what Col. 4:12 says, Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. This word “struggling” is also translated “laboring” or “wrestling”, but more technically in the Greek it means “agonizing”. What?! Yes, agonize.
How about Paul appealing to the church in Rome as he asked them to “strive together with me in prayer”? (Rom. 15:30)
And one of my favorite visuals is Elijah. This man had run the gamut from mighty man of God to scared little kitten. But one thing is for sure…he knew how to pray in faith. When there was no rain on the land for like seven years he knows that some heavy rain is about to fall, so he gets in quite an interesting position (think grunting woman pushing baby out) and he travailed in prayer. This is SO important. Elijah only saw a cloud “the size of a man’s hand”, yet he waited and he believed and he prayed.
There are numerous examples of this striving in prayer concept, but if you want to read something absolutely awesome that God will do as a result, soak in Psalm 18. See what happens after the psalmist utters these words in verse 6, “In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.” Talk about climate change! A myriad of weather patterns ensues depicting the awesome power of God to bring about deliverance, healing, peace, and rest.
What’s the point in all of this? I believe God wants His offspring to stay in the tussle because we are suited in His strength and in His armor. Though we are NOT wrestling against flesh and blood, nevertheless, we ARE wrestling. Our minds are engaged, our bodies are pressing into the struggle, and our GOD is providing the POWER! Contemplate what Paul is saying in this passage in Colossians 1, verse 29, “For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.”
Friends, we’re in a very real battle. This is not the time to lie down and throw in the towel. Keep at it, enlist fellow sojourners, and behold the birth of answered prayer.
And may you trade in that sweaty towel for a victory banner!

 

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Lori Travers

Lori finds the Joy of the Lord to be her strength. Born and raised an Italian Jersey girl, she has finally settled in the south as Reynolda Presbyterian church became her new home. Ministry to women, reading, writing, cooking, and anything having to do with animals are her sweet spots. Having a background in cardiac testing, she chose to stay home and raise three incredible children who are now married, and currently has 2 precious granddaughters and one faithful husband of 34 years.

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