• Grappling prayer

Nov
24

Today’s post was a written by Chris Thayer (on the right below), Director of Discipleship at Good Shepherd Church in Charlotte, NC…who I’ve exchanged chokes, armbars and footlocks with on many occasions over the years!

-JM 

Chris no gi6

Several years ago I started practicing a sport called Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It’s essentially martial arts wrestling.

Before I had children, I trained often in the sport and thoroughly enjoyed it. Not only is it an incredibly challenging work-out – but it also inspires comradery. Much of what you learn has the potential to severely injure your training partner if you’re not careful. So each person has to quite literally trust their physical well-being to their training partner.

In addition, when competing, it’s incredibly helpful and important to have somebody you’ve trained with coach you from the side-lines to help you realize your mistakes before you make them and exploit your opponent’s weaknesses when they are revealed. Since I’ve had children, I don’t practice Jiu-Jitsu nearly as often and don’t compete. However, on Sunday nights I occasionally join with old friends and make new ones on the mats at our local academy.

Four weeks ago I was at one of these open mat sessions. As I left – I checked my phone and saw I had several missed calls from my wife and my neighbor. I soon found out my son was in an ambulance and being prepped for transport to the local hospital. I didn’t know what was going on and to say the least was scared for my son and family. So on my way to meet the ambulance I made several calls to family and to friends here at church. I let them know what little I did and asked them to pray.

I arrived home, hopped in the ambulance and found out that my son had a seizure. It was brought about by a rapid increase in his body’s temperature from a virus. He was discharged from the hospital that night and (praise God!) there’s not currently any concern for an underlying neurological disorder (this is type of seizure is not uncommon in young children).

During this ordeal my wife and I received many texts and calls from people saying they were praying for us. Not only that, but I later found out that several LifeGroups that meet on Sunday night had gotten word and were praying for us during our time of need.

Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.

Colossians 4:12

As I read Paul’s comments about Epaphras wrestling in prayer for the Colossian church and recount this moment – it puts it in new perspective. I went from quite literally wrestling with other people to having others wrestle for my family in prayer – and that prayer was vital to my son and our family.

It’s telling that Paul uses the word “wrestling” to explain the fervency with which Epaphras prayed for the Colossian church. Wrestling is not an easy sport – it’s physically exhausting. However, not only in times of crisis – but in our everyday lives, we need people who are wrestling for us in prayer.

This can take on many different expressions – but my challenge for you today is to find somebody who will wrestle for you and with you in prayer. Somebody whom you’re willing to trust with your well-being and who will be in your corner as you seek to serve Jesus with all that you are.

It is a vital part of our living relationship with Jesus Christ. My family’s recent crisis highlighted this reality, and reminds me that at every moment (whether in crisis or not) we need people who are wrestling for us in prayer.

 

Chris Thayer

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