I read a devotional from a book called Streams In The Desert from the Back To The Bible website. It is was written in 1925 by Mrs. Charles Cowen. I read of a man who prayed for his son who was very ill. Here’s the story:
An incident from the prayer life of Charles H. Usher (illustrating “soul-cling” as a hindrance to prevailing prayer): “My little boy was very ill. The doctors held out little hope of his recovery. I had used all the knowledge of prayer which I possessed on his behalf, but he got worse and worse. This went on for several weeks.
“One day I stood watching him as he lay in his cot, and I saw that he could not live long unless he had a turn for the better. I said to God, ‘O God, I have given much time in prayer for my boy and he gets no better; I must now leave him to Thee, and I will give myself to prayer for others. If it is Thy will to take him, I choose Thy will–I surrender him entirely to Thee.’
“I called in my dear wife, and told her what I had done. She shed some tears, but handed him over to God. Two days afterwards a man of God came to see us. He had been very interested in our boy Frank, and had been much in prayer for him.
“He said, ‘God has given me faith to believe that he will recover–have you faith?’
“I said, ‘I have surrendered him to God, but I will go again to God regarding him.’ I did; and in prayer I discovered that I had faith for his recovery. From that time he began to get better. It was the ‘soul-cling’ in my prayers which had hindered God answering; and if I had continued to cling and had been unwilling to surrender him, I doubt if my boy would be with me today.
“Child of God! If you want God to answer your prayers, you must be prepared to follow the footsteps of ‘our father Abraham,’ even to the Mount of Sacrifice.” (See Rom. 4:12.)
A similar incident happened in my life. When Jonathan was first born he was put in the ICU. He had a strep B infection. He went into shock and had an underlying condition that we weren’t aware of.
He was in the hospital for over a month. I prayed alot for him during this time. At one time I got tired of praying so I told Danny. I started praying that God would just take our baby so it would all be over. Danny got mad at me and yelled at me and told me to keep praying that Jonathan would get better. So I did.
As the plot of this chapter of our life unfolded Jonathan got better. Now he is entering the teenage years and is a good kid. God chose to bless us abundantly with the privilege of watching our son grow through the days of his life and being an important part of our family life. 🙂
“I will not let thee go, except thou bless me … and he blessed him there.” (Gen. 32:26, 29.)
Jacob got the victory and the blessing not by wrestling, but by clinging. His limb was out of joint and he could struggle no longer, but he would not let go. Unable to wrestle, he wound his arms around the neck of his mysterious antagonist and hung all his helpless weight upon him, until at last he conquered.
We will not get victory in prayer until we too cease our struggling, giving up our own will and throw our arms about our Father’s neck in clinging faith.
What can puny human strength take by force out of the hand of Omnipotence? Can we wrest blessing by force from God? It is never the violence of wilfulness that prevails with God. It is the might of clinging faith, that gets the blessing and the victories. It is not when we press and urge our own will, but when humility and trust unite in saying, “Not my will, but Thine.” We are strong with God only in the degree that self is conquered and is dead. Not by wrestling, but by clinging can we get the blessing. –J. R. Miller