By Nicole Kauffman
It was one AM and my husband and I sat on the edge of our bed watching our son breathe on the monitor.
We’d gotten back from the ER not even an hour ago and already he looked like he needed to go back.
Adrenaline washed over us in waves as we wrestled with the decision of whether or not to take him back in.
We did take him and we ended up spending the day on the pediatric floor.
Respiratory distress in a toddler is no joke. We’d been told it can go from stable to crisis in just moments and this was the seesaw we lived on for most of that winter.
We spent many moments wrestling with God in prayer for my son in those months.
But it wasn’t the first bump in the road that drove us to our knees. No, we’d begun the process of learning how to pray for our son since the moment the pregnancy test read positive.
A high-risk pregnancy, his health, watching him learn to take those everyday risks that come alongside being a little boy, not to mention thinking about all the ways in which I will have to stand back and watch God work out the hard things in his life as he grows – all of these things and so many more have led me to ask:
How do you pray for your son?
How do I ask God to keep my son safe?
How do I ask God to heal my son?
What does God say about a sick child?
What does it mean to wrestle with God in prayer?
Can you really change God’s mind?
Let’s take a look at Scripture because there are powerful examples of wrestling in prayer and interceding in prayer.
What Does Scripture Say About Wrestling with God in Prayer?
There are many examples of wrestling in prayer with God in the Bible. One thing we know for sure, what sounds like something hostile actually leads to greater intimacy.
When we wrestle with God, we bring him our raw desires, requests and fears.
But as we wrestle with Him, it is our hearts that change. It is our minds that shift. Healing takes place and God’s will is done. And intimacy takes root.
There are many examples of wrestling with God, the most well-known is Jacob wrestling with God for a blessing. Moses also pleads with God. But today I want to share Abraham’s story of interceding with God on behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Abraham interceded or wrestled with God for the sake of Sodom and Gomorrah. God revealed to Abraham his plan to destroy the city and Abraham humbly and yet boldly pleaded with God on behalf of any righteous people living within it.
There are some powerful lessons here about how we can approach God, intercede and wrestle with Him in prayer.
I would encourage you to read all of Genesis 18, but we will touch on some of it here.
After revealing his plan to destroy the city, Abraham approaches God:
Abraham approached and said, “Will You indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?… Far be it from You to do such a thing, to kill the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?” -Genesis 18:23, 25 NASB
And Abraham replied, “Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord, although I am only dust and ashes. -Genesis 18:27 NASB
Then he said, “Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak only this once: suppose ten are found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it on account of the ten.” -Genesis 18:32 NASB
These are just a few of the pleas that Abraham makes within the conversation. And I want to point out a few things about what wrestling with God looks like here.
God revealed His will to Abraham. We must be in such communion with God, have such intimacy with Him that He reveals His will to us.
Abraham approached God. We cannot be afraid to approach God when we do so in humility and in the righteousness of Christ. (Hebrews 4:16)
Abraham calls on God’s character & promises. Abraham isn’t just asking for anything. He is calling on the very character of God – His justice. We can wrestle with God in prayer confidently when we are relying on the promises of God and on God’s true character.
Abraham was humble. Nothing but dust and ashes! How many of us would view ourselves this way when we ask God for things? Honestly, more often than not, I end up asking for things out of a sense of entitlement. Humility is essential as we wrestle with God in prayer.
Abraham’s plea grows closer and closer to God’s will and God knows all along and gently leads Abraham toward His will. God knows His plan is to destory the city. He knows just how many are righteous and just how many are wicked. And yet He listens to Abrahams pleas and guides him closer and closer to His sovereign plan.
We can spend days and weeks and months pleading with God for something. God knows, He is sovereign. And He will gently lead us to His good and gracious plan.
What Does It Mean to Wrestle with God in Prayer?
When we wrestle with God in prayer, we humbly come before Him. We offer our hearts and surrender our wills. We submit to His authority, His sovereignty, His ways.
We trust that His ways are so much higher than ours. We trust that His grace will cover us. And we trust that His plan is good.
What does this look like practically?
- Humble ourselves
- Grow in intimacy with God through His Word
- Approach God
- Call on His character and promises throughout Scripture
- Rely on His sovereignty & His ways
Know Who Your Real Enemy Is
We often forget the real enemy when we approach God in prayer. Ephesians 6 tells us that beneath all of the physical battles we are facing is an invisible enemy who is trying to steer you from the faith.
As you wrestle in prayer, remember to stand firm in the Armor of God. Don’t let Satan fool you into thinking he is not at work. God is victorious over Satan and as we pray in Jesus name, we have that victory as well!
How Do I Wrestle With God in Prayer for My Son?
How do you pray for your son? How do I ask God to keep my son safe? How do I ask God to heal my son?
These questions and so many more can fall in line with the ways in which we’ve learned to wrestle with God in prayer.
God’s sovereignty and grace covers my son.
I can pray on His behalf. I can seek out the Lord’s will and humbly make requests before Him.
But ultimately, I must trust that God’s plan is good.
Fervent prayer on behalf of my son drives me closer to the Lord as I trust in Him. I must go through the steps listed above over and over as I seek to pray on behalf of my son.
Let this prayer guide you as you pray on behalf of your son today.
Wrestling Mom Prayer
Lord, I humbly come before you today with my arms outstretched, knowing You are good. Proclaiming Your sovereignty over my sweet child. I lift up my little boy to You today and I ask that Your will would be done in His life. I proclaim Your goodness and mercy over Him.
I pray specifically for his health today, that Your healing touch would be upon Him. I ask that You would be at work in his body, working all things together in harmony and wellness. I pray for the strength to support him physically in all the ways that he needs.
I pray also for him spiritually, that You would watch over him and protect him from the evil one. I ask that You would guide his heart to You as only You can do. Draw him to You, Lord, and show me how I can nurture his heart as well.
Once again, I proclaim Your victory over the enemy and pray this verse over my son today:
I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give [my son] a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of [his] heart may be enlightened, so that [he] will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. (Ephesians 1:17-18 NASB, emphasis mine)
5 Bible Verses on Wrestling With God in Prayer For our Children
- Ephesians 1:17-18: “ I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.”
- Jeremiah 29:12-13: “ Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
- Proverbs 3:5-6: “ Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”
- Isaiah 41:10: “ So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
- Proverbs 22:6: “ Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
Meet the author
Nicole is a wife and mama to two boys. Between keeping her house free from muddy footprints and plucking weeds from the garden, she loves to share hope and encouragement with those walking this journey of faith. Courage Hope Love started as a place to provide hope and healing and has transformed into a ministry building hearts and homes for the Lord.