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Prayerful Wrestling

Today's Devotional

Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. Genesis 32:24

Dennis’ life was transformed after someone gave him a New Testament. Reading it captivated him, and it became his constant companion. Within six months, two life-changing events occurred in his life. He placed his faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of his sins, and he was diagnosed with a brain tumor after experiencing severe headaches. Because of the unbearable pain, he became bedridden and unable to work. One painful, sleepless night he found himself crying out to God. Sleep finally came at 4:30 a.m.

Bodily pain can cause us to cry out to God, but other excruciating life circumstances also compel us to run to Him. Centuries before Dennis’ night of wrestling, a desperate Jacob faced off with God (Genesis 32:24–32). For Jacob, it was unfinished family business. He had wronged his brother Esau (ch. 27), and he feared that payback was imminent. In seeking God’s help in this difficult situation, Jacob encountered God face-to-face (32:30) and emerged from it a changed man.

And so did Dennis. After pleading with God in prayer, Dennis was able to stand up after being bedridden, and the doctor’s examination showed no signs of the tumor. Although God doesn’t always choose to miraculously heal us, we’re confident that He hears our prayers and will give us what we need for our situation. In our desperation we offer sincere prayers to God and leave the results to Him!

What are you struggling with that you could bring before God in prayer? What are some of the benefits of praying from the depths of our hearts even when He chooses not to change the situation?

Father, help me to see that life’s difficulties and challenges are opportunities for me to seek You in prayer and to grow in my understanding of who You are.


The name Jacob means “heel-grabber” and refers to someone who tries to advance themselves by tripping up someone else by means of scheming or manipulation. This characteristic of Jacob is first seen in the event that gave him his name. Following the birth of his twin brother, Esau, Jacob came out of the womb literally grasping his twin’s heel (Genesis 25:26). This event also foreshadowed his character. So, when Jacob manipulated Esau to take his birthright (vv. 29–34), and then also schemed against their father, Isaac, to steal Esau’s blessing (ch. 27), he was living out the name that his first action described. Jacob would go on to live with his mother’s brother, Laban, but there he would reap what he had sown. Laban schemed against Jacob by giving him his daughter Leah as his wife (ch. 29), rather than Rachel, the daughter Jacob deeply loved.

By |2020-12-07T12:12:46-05:00December 12th, 2020|
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