For the next few weeks, we have asked several contributors to write about prayer. What each of these leaders has to say is especially valuable in light of our first National Foursquare Family Prayer Meeting on November 5th in over 350 locations. Today, Sam Rockwell, supervisor of Mile High District and pastor of Grace Foursquare in Northglenn, Colo. shares some unique insights!
-Glenn Burris Jr.
As we prepare for our national time of prayer together I’m thinking about how Jacob “wrestled” with the angel and how my prayer life sometimes feels like a struggle with God. I am struck by how much latitude God gives him to fail and learn. The fact that Jacob wrestled all night says much about God’s nature. It speaks volumes about His patience with us. This long, exhausting physical contest for position is evidence of God’s great respect for those who wrestle with Him.
Obviously if God were interested in merely “winning” He could have pinned Jacob in the first round without sweat. He was, instead, attempting to engage Jacob’s restless soul in a process of self-surrender and self-discovery. He was not trying to vanquish Jacob; he was beckoning Jacob to offer himself willingly and completely. God renames Jacob, but Jacob must embrace his new identity for himself.
God is patient and respectful of our struggle because He sees us as His instruments. It is not His way, however, to merely “utilize us”—He wants to transform us. It is in the transformation that we become useful to Him. Charles Spurgeon, in Lectures to My Students, writes:
“Michelangelo understood so well the importance of his tools, that he always made his own brushes with his own hands and in this he gives us an illustration of the God of grace, who with special care fashions for Himself all true ministers.”
If we could fully appreciate the fathomless forbearance and reverence that God has for the process it takes for us to relinquish ourselves to Him entirely, it would give us pause. It would deeply instill in us a willingness to allow others room to fail and learn; it would embed in us a sense of gratitude so thoroughly and profoundly that our mere presence in people’s lives would elicit in them an overwhelming desire to worship.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” -Psalm 51:10 (NKJV)
By: Sam Rockwell, supervisor of Mile High District and pastor of Grace Foursquare in Northglenn, Colo.