When life throws you for a tailspin, it’s time to take it to the mat with God — the wrestling mat, that is. In modern wrestling matches, competitors will lock arms and legs, twist, turn, bend, and flip, struggling with every ounce of strength to gain an advantage over their opponent. The match ends either when one of the competitors pins the other to the mat with their shoulder blades touching the mat for two seconds, or when one competitor scores more points than the other.

I know it is an exercise in futility to try putting God in a headlock or pinning Him to a mat, but bear with me for a moment. The enthusiasm, energy, and physical and mental involvement a wrestler pours into each match should be carried over into each believer’s life as he wrestles with God in prayer. Wrestling with God may refer to the struggle we face to align our will with God’s will. It may be agonizing with God over a loss or diligently pursuing a desired blessing. It may involve an earnest plea for guidance in a situation or finally yielding to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and acknowledging our sins. It could be a heartfelt prayer on behalf of someone else. Regardless of the nature of our petitions, wrestling with God calls for dedication and a dogged determination to fight for what we believe in, win or lose.

Those who take life to the mat with God in prayer will not suffer themselves to offer up halfhearted petitions. They boldly fight fatigue, narrowing time constraints, changing feelings, discouraging circumstances, and Hell itself to bring their requests before the throne of grace. Their petitions are heard. Their requests are granted. Their needs are met. Their battles are won.

Have you gone to the mat with God lately? Bring your uncertainty about the outcome of a relationship, your concern for the health of a loved one, your desire for marriage, a family, friends, a job, financial provision, or a home. Tell Him how you feel paralyzed by your fears and how you are tempted to doubt His ability to sustain you through your trials. Pour out your desire for clear guidance. Candidly divulge the disappointments you suffer on account of people — lay it all on the mat. You will not wrestle in vain. God has promised His grace to help in your time of need.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.