Then he said, “Your name won’t be Jacob any longer, but Israel, because you struggled with God and with men and won.” (Genesis 32:28 CEB)

Prayer is not always easy!

Nancy was eagerly anticipating her retirement as an elementary school teacher when her pastor asked if she would consider developing a Sunday morning program for special needs children. Her first thought was, naturally, “This isn’t how I imagined spending my first year of retirement.” Reluctantly, she agreed to pray. Nancy prayed, wrestling with God, and in the end, instead of spending her first year traveling, gardening, and doing all of the things she had long dreamed of, she spent her time pulling together a curriculum for families and their special needs children. She continually asked herself why she agreed to do this.

On the Sunday of the program’s launch six families and their special needs children attended the first class. Three months later, all six families joined the church, and the children were baptized. Nancy sat in the back pew, a smile lighting her face. She hadn’t traveled much, and her garden still had weeds, but she wouldn’t change a thing.

Like Jacob, the willingness to struggle in prayer and step out in faith transformed Nancy’s life.

Transformation defines us as followers of Jesus. Usually, as with Nancy and Jacob, transformation comes with struggle. We wrestle with God, sometimes through the wee hours of the night and always through prayer, and this prayerful wrestling changes us.

Faithful giving and generosity are not always what we naturally do. Faithful giving and generosity are prayerful struggles that define who we are, or rather, who God calls us to be. Prayerfully wrestling with God about who God wants us to be changes everything about us.

~R. Craig Miller


Have you ever felt God asking you to change? When are times that you have struggled with God? Who serves as an example for you when you resist God?


Search your heart and find where you are currently struggling with God (if it isn’t obvious). Spend an hour with no distractions in “prayerful wrestling.”

From A Generous Life: 28 Days of Devotion. Copyright © 2019 Abingdon Press. All rights reserved.

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