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Study Text:    James 5:16-18

Jam 5:16  Confess faults to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous one avails much.

Jam 5:17  Elijah was a man of like passion as we are. And he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for the time of three years and six months.

Jam 5:18  And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth caused its fruit to sprout.


-       Prayer is a spiritual exercise that can impacts our families, communities and also has far reaching effect in heaven and hell.

-       Every man on earth is born with a glorious destiny but not all end up gloriously. This is because there are oppositions in our journey and only those who overcome gets the prize (1 Cor 16:9).

-       Life itself is an adventure in battles. There is a price to pay before we can wear our crowns. Among other things it is the price of travailing in prayer.

-       Man cannot prevail unless he travails. Just like a woman in labour has to push to bring forth her joy, you also have to continually push (pray until something happens) to birth your destiny (Luke 18:1).

-       The best prayer teacher is the exercise of prayer itself. You can never learn prayer until you pray. Jesus prayed, Paul prayed, Elijah prayed and they all ended with glorious testimonies.

-       Scripture said “Men ought always to pray and not to faint “. Hell is not moved by our plans as much as it is moved by our prayers. If we pray through, our plans will come through.

-        If we pray through, His light (revelation) will shine through and into our hearts. If we travail in prayer, we will prevail in life.

-       We shall discuss the topic under three sub-headings:

1.         The Power Of Persistency

2.         The Principles of Travailing

3.         The Prayer of Prevailing

1.         The Power of Persistency:

Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” So He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.” And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.” And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there Genesis 32:24-29 NKJV

-       Do you know that when you want something, or pray for something, and if you never let God go, you will see the answers of the prayers? P.U.S.H = Pray Until Something Happens.

-       Jacob was left alone and a Man wrestled with him. When you are alone and you began to pray and praise, the presence of God is there, in that infinite presence of God, when you grab hold of God's leg and pray unceasingly, you will see your prayers being answered.

-       Miracles only happens for those who travail in prayer and believe for a miracle. Pray Until Something Happen. Never let go, never give up. When you pray don't just simply pray, pray a prayer that moves God's hand. Wrestle with God in prayer!

-       The struggles we go through, as we walk with God, is for a purpose and a reason. He moulds our live according to every events that's happened in our live, bringing us into maturity physically and also spiritually.

-       The Greek meaning for Israel is "he shall be a prince of God." The Hebrew meaning is "My God prevails or He struggled with God."

-       When struggled or wrestled with God in prayer, you shall receive your miracle. In this case Jacob was a prince of God.

-       When you prevail, the crown of victory is waiting for you. Get up and pray Till you see something happen! Never give up. Do not accept defeat as a fact, but travail and prevail in prayer and praise till God brings about a miracle!

2.         The Principles of Travailing:

-    If there is a situation in your life that you are not happy with it, you’ve got the power to change that situation.

-    Maybe you are struggling to meet your commitments, maybe your finances requires a touch, maybe your health is failing, maybe things are generally not going well with you. As long as you are on the Lord’s side (Exodus 32:26) you’ve got that power.

-    The bible in Jeremiah 1:19 says and they shall fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you.

-   Jesus called his twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases (Luke 9:1).

-   You and I have also got the power, the power to trample over serpents and scorpions, the power to decree a thing and heaven establishing such things, the power to ask and to receive.

-   The bible (2 Corinthians 4: 7) says we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.

-   How can you activate this authority? How can you change situations that have been oppressing you over the years? Through wrestling!

-   Now, let’s take a close look at the events that night when the life of Jacob was completely turned around. 

Now let’s look at Jacob’s encounter with God, how he activated this authority
First, a few things about the character of Jacob:
• He grabbed the heels of his brother when they were about to be delivered from their mother’s womb
• He took the birthright from his brother 
• He tricked his father into blessing him instead of his brother 
• He was a supplanter, a trickster, a deceiver
• At this time when he wrestles with God, he wanted to reconcile with his brother. He has been away from home with Uncle Laban for 20 years, even though he was financially blessed, he wanted to a more significant change in his life. He was not happy with his situation, and he was eager to do something about it! Are you eager to change your underachievement? Are you tired of striving not thriving? 

A few important points to consider today:

1. There can be no sanctification without separation

-   Jacob was preparing to go and meet his brother Esau, and at night he sends his family, servants, and possession across the ford at Jabbok. He sent his family and belongings away!

-   The lesson here is that sometimes you need to be alone, and spend quality time with God. Jesus, before he named his 12 disciples was on the mountain praying all night. Moses was on the mountains when he received the 10 commandments.

-   In other words, there needs to be separation for there to be sanctification, consecration comes before justification, after which comes transformation.

2. His Touch may sometimes be painful 
-   Travailing may be a painful and difficult or burdensome work; it may be a toil, anguish or physical suffering.

-       Remember when the bible says Elijah placed his face between his knees when praying! (1 Kings 18:42) It must have been challenging for the prophet of God.

-        To prevail means ‘to prove superior in strength, power, or influence, to succeed; become dominant.’ But always remember that the effective, fervent prayer of the righteous avails much (James 5:16)


3. Pain is not always your enemy 
-   It can be painful to be confronted with our sin. 
-   It can be painful to be humbled by a righteous and holy God. 
-   It can be painful to go through times of difficulties.
-   It can be painful to see peers making progress while you are stagnating
-   Most of us view pain as an enemy. However, it is pain that forces us to pay attention to threats against our bodies.

-   But God is telling someone today that sometimes, pain brings change. Remember that the destiny of Shedrack, Meshach and Abednego in the book of Daniel was perfected in the burning furnace. It is in pain that we often find blessing.
-   Jacob may have broken his hip in the encounter, but it led to blessing and his life was changed forever. The greater your pain, the greater your gain

4. Perseverance in prayer yields profits 
-   Jacob wrestled all night in spite of a broken hip. The Bible says a righteous man falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked are overthrown by calamity. (Proverbs 24:16)

-   Remember the story of the persistent widow and the unjust judge in Luke 16 where the bibles says will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.

-    There is also the story of the friend in need in Luke 18 (I tell you, although he will not get up and supply him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his shameless persistence and insistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

5. An encounter with God Changes Your Name
-   God asked him what his name was: God was telling Jacob: Are you going to continue living up to your name, deceiving yourself and others; or will you admit what you are and let me change you?" God gave him another name.

-        God is giving someone a new name today! A new name in the Bible times means a new beginning (Abram to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah, Saul to Paul). God will give you the name of a victor. He gave a new name to Israel. He was no longer the heal grabber but a blessing grabber, no longer the deceiver but the receiver of God’s blessing.

-        His new name means ‘he who struggles with God.’ He had struggled with God and man and had prevailed.

3.   The Prayer of Prevailing:
1. Abraham’s servant prayed to God, and God directed him to the person who should be wife to his master’s son and heir (Genesis 24:10-20). 
2. Samson prayed to God, and God showed him a well where he quenched his burning thirst, and so lived to judge Israel (Judges. 15:18-20). 
3. David prayed, and God defeated the counsel of Ahithophel (2 Samuel 15:31; 16:20-23; 17:14-23). 
4. Daniel prayed, and God enabled him to tell Nebuchadnezzar his dream and to interpret the dream (Daniel 2: 1623-23). 
5. Nehemiah prayed, and God inclined the heart of the king of Persia to grant him leave of absence to visit and rebuild Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1:11; 2:1-6). 
6. Esther and Mordecai prayed, and God defeated the purpose of Haman, and saved the Jews from destruction (Esther 4:15-17; 6:7, 8). 
7. The believers in Jerusalem prayed, and God opened the prison doors and set Peter at liberty, when Herod had resolved upon his death (Acts 12:1-12). 
8. Paul prayed that the thorn in the flesh might be removed, and his prayer brought a large increase of spiritual strength (2 Corinthians 12:7-10

-    I want to assure you today in the name of Jesus that if you travail, you will prevail and:
Accomplish the impossible
Believe the impossible
Receive the impossible



-       “As soon as Zion travailed, he brought forth his children” -Isaiah 66:8. Bringing forth is preceded by travail. Thus, it is in line to say before you prevail, you will need to travail.

-       Just like a woman in labor, sometimes she will experience struggles and pain, yet the end result is worth it all, as the joy of giving birth supersedes the pain of labor.

-        So it is when you conceive a dream or vision in your heart, it grows inside of you. There may be many painful struggles and many nights of travailing in prayer but when the time is right, nothing can stop your bringing forth.

-        Giving birth to something can come with deep travail. There may be tears during the night, but joy comes in the morning. Don’t be in a hurry. A pregnancy that is not carried to full term will result in premature delivery and if not carefully managed can result in the death of the child. There is always a period of incubation; such that happens within you. A time when you are in God’s quarry site being worked upon and prepared for your glorious manifestation.

-       Take a moment and reflect on your life. Are you truly prepared for what God is set to do in and through you? Perhaps, there are things to be corrected in your life. Maybe you need to allow the pruning hands of God to come upon you. For a plant to enjoy maximum yield, it would require Pruning.

-       If you desire to be productive, you will need to prune out some areas of your life you do not need. If you wish to remain relevant to your generation, you must consistently cut off every negative act, attitude or behavior.


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Julius Soyinka
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