Grappling with God in prayer
From the pen of Ellen G. White, we read that the old standard bearers knew what it was to wrestle with God in prayer, and to enjoy the outpouring of the Spirit. But these are passing of from the stage of action; and who are coming up to fill their places? How is it with the rising generation? Are they converted to God? Are we awake to the work that is going on in the heavenly sanctuary, or are we waiting for some compelling power to come upon the church before we shall arouse? Are hoping to see the whole church revived? That time will never come. SM, Book 1, Page 122, para#1
Period of Preparation
Prior to the second coming of Jesus, people are urged not to give in to panic. Instead, we are, according to 2 Corinthians 13:5, to examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith. It is time to review our relationships with God and fellow men. Remember, our salvation is based on relationships. It is the essence of the cross and the ten commandments. The vertical tree of the cross represents our dependence on God, expressed in the first four commandments which govern our relationships with our Creator. The horizontal tree of the cross represents our interdependence with our fellow men, expressed also in the six commandments that regulate relationships among humans. Before Jesus comes again we need to sit down, examine and review where we stand in our relationships with God first and in our relationships with our fellow men, regardless of their gender, color, race, social status, religion, etc. Prior to entering the glorious courts of heaven, God wants us to be as perfect as Himself. Matt. 5:48. This is the highest standard set for us to attain. Therefore we should never try to lower it in order to accommodate our weakness and lack of total commitment to God. The Apostle James links our love for God to the way we treat our fellow men. James 2:1-17. The beloved Apostle has also something to say that implies our relationships with both God and our fellow men: If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:20-21. In Malachi 4:5-6, God promises to revitalize our relationships with Him and our fellow men by sending us the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse."
And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for us to wake up from our slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
The best way to prepare to meet the Lord Jesus Christ is to examine ourselves and see where we lack or fall short in our relationships with one another and God. This is critical for each one of us. Scuffling with God in prayer, we will be able to soar to spiritual heights that God wants us to reach before He can come to take us home.
Written by Samuel M. Ntawiniga