Besides the messes in the world, two nearby needs are heavy on my heart. One is a couple who have split up. The other is a couple who are battling her cancer as she declines in strength. I have been praying for both couples for a long time.
Chambers writes about some finer points in prayer saying that I must wrestle against the things that prevent me from getting to God (such as personal unconfessed sin), and I wrestle in prayer for other souls (like these four friends), but never say that I wrestle with God in prayer.
The only person in Scripture who wrestled with God was Jacob and he wound up crippled for the rest of his life. In my estimation, this man both won and lost. Being put out of joint was the best thing that happened to him. Before, he was a selfish schemer; after God struck him, he walked with God.
Those who go through that battle will be ‘broken’ and their concerns change. Instead of wanting my own way all the time, God has me bringing issues and other souls before Him, fighting for them. When that is happening, I’m to put on the armor of God — which is the simple truths of salvation. With those in place there is a “completeness” that makes prayer a prevailing fight rather than a losing battle.
Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm . . . praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, (Ephesians 6:13;18)
Again, the fight is not against God.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:10–12)
Prayer is a battle alongside God against the enemy, the spiritual forces of evil. It is not against God, but also not against other people. I cannot pray for the downfall of someone who is doing bad things, but I must pray for the downfall of the spiritual forces that motivate that person. This kind of prayer is called intercession.
Chambers says I am not to accept or yield to things that are evil. If my prayers are not answered right away, I’m not to be like a jelly-fish saying, “Oh, it must be the Lord’s will” as if I have done all I can do and nothing happens. Instead, I’m to put up a fight, not to wrestle with God, but to wrestle before God with these burdensome things, wearing the armor He gives me for the strength and perseverance needed to keep on in prayer until the battle is over.