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Photo: Enigma Sport

"there has only ever been one perfect man, the Lord Jesus, and we killed him. I only missed a putt."

Berhard Langer on the 1991 Ryder Cup

Wrestling in prayer

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

The concept of “wrestling in prayer” is very striking. It speaks of effort. Epaphras (and I) do not find prayer easy. It involves discipline and effort. All sports involve effort but a combat sport like wrestling, the more so.

Just as we expect training to be demanding, hard, so we should not expect to pray without effort. The gospels tell us of Jesus praying before it was daylight. He got up early to make sure he found time for prayer, that it did not get crowded out of a busy day.

I asked a recently retired elite swimmer if she missed it. Her first answer was that she did not miss the 5.00am alarm to be in the pool before it was busy. Many people saw her with the medals around her neck – not many saw her “wrestle” with the duvet at 5.00am.

World boxing champion, Muhammed Ali, used to say: “The fight is won or lost far away from the witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym and out on the road, long before I dance under those lights”.

Prayer is a vital part of our Christian life. Don’t expect to be faithful in prayer without effort.

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