And Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your kindred, that I may do you good,’ I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant, for with only my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps. Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, that he may come and attack me, the mothers with the children. But you said, ‘I will surely do you good, and make your offspring as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.’”
Jacob was “greatly afraid and distressed” (Gen. 32:7). Esau, the brother he had wronged, was coming to meet him with an army of four hundred men. Jacob was traveling only with his family. His quick defeat was certain. Jacob’s communication with God is urgent and very instructive for us.
- Jacob’s prayer is addressed to Elohim—the all-powerful God—who had made a covenant with Jacob’s father and his grandfather. God is the all-powerful God who keeps his promises.
- Jacob confesses his unworthiness. He knows he wronged his brother and confesses that he has not been worthy of all God’s blessings. The acknowledgment of our sin and unworthiness is an important part of the conversation with God.
- Jacob acknowledges God’s blessings. When he ran from Esau, Jacob only had a staff in his hand and now God has blessed him with a family and wealth.
- Jacob acknowledges his dependence on God and pleads for God to deliver him. He appeals to God as a husband and father. Jacob recognized his fear and concern for his family.
- Praying Promises. Jacob reminds God of his promises. Jacob repeated the promises that God had made to him about his descendants becoming numerous (Gen. 28:14).
- Use the acronym ACTS to outline your conversation with God today. Start with adoration—tell God how much you love him. Spend time in confession—confess your sin, your fear, your doubt. Thank God for all he has given you. Lay out supplication—your appeal—to God. What concerns are on your heart? What fears fill you?
- As you read God’s Word, mark his promises. Record them where you can have ready access—on your smartphone or on 3 X 5 cards that you keep with you. When you are fearful, pray the promises of God.
And…keep praying those promises throughout the day.
I have written a devotional book with over 80 promises of God that have been of great help to me. The book is called Refuge – click for more information.
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