Charles Spurgeon on Jacob Wrestling the Angel


“Prayer moves the arm that moves the world. Oh, for grace to grasp almighty love in this fashion.

We want more holdfast prayer, more tugging and gripping and wrestling that says, ‘I will not let thee go’ (Gen. 32:36). That picture of Jacob at Jabbok will suffice for us to close with. The covenant angel is there, and Jacob wants a blessing from him. He seems to put him off, but no put-offs will do for Jacob. then the angel endeavors to escape from him, and he tugs and strives; this he may do, but no efforts will make Jacob relax his grasp. At last, the angel falls from ordinary wrestling to wounding him in the very seat of his strength. Jacob will let his thigh go, and all his limbs go, but will not let the angel go. The poor man’s strength shrivels under the withering touch, but in his weakness he is still strong. He throws his arms around the mysterious man, and he holds him as in a death grip.

Then the other says, ‘Let me go, for the day breaketh,’ (Gen. 32:36). Note, he did not shake him off; he only said, ‘Let me go.’ The angel will do nothing to force him to relax his hold; he leaves that to his voluntary will. The valiant Jacob cries, ‘No, I am set on it. I am resolved to win an answer to my prayer. I will not let thee go, except thou bless me‘ (v. 26).’

Now, when the church begins to pray, it may be at first that the Lord will act as though He would go further (see Luke 24:28), and we may fear that no answer will be given. Hold on, dear friends. ‘Be ye steadfast, unmoveable’ (1 Cor. 15:58), despite all. by and by , it amy be, there will come discouragements where we looked for flowing success. We will find friends hindering; some will be slumbering and others sinning. Backsliders wand impenitent and souls will abound. But let us not be turned aside. Let us be all the more eager.

And if it should so happen that we ourselves become distressed and dispirited and wee feel we never were so weak as we are now, never mind, friends; still hold on. For when the sinew is shrunk, the victory is near. Grasp with a tighter grip than ever. Let this be our resolution: ‘I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.’ Remember, the longer the blessing is in coming, the richer it will be when it arrives. That which is gained speedily by a single prayer is sometimes only a second-rate blessing; but that which is gained after many a desperate tug, and many an awful struggle, is a full-weighted and precious blessing.

The children of persistence are always fair to look upon. The blessing that costs us the most prayer will be worth the most. Only let us be persevering in supplication, and we will gain a broad, far-reaching blessing for ourselves, the churches, and the world. I wish it were in my power to stir you all to fervent prayer, but I must leave it with the great Author of all true supplication, namely, the Holy Spirit. May He work in us mightily for Jesus’ sake. Amen.”

From his book Power in Prayer


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