PRAYER WHEN THERE ARE DIFFICULTIES AHEAD
Jacob’s life story is highly significant in the narrative of God’s chosen people: yet some of it is quite puzzling. Remember how he schemed with his mother to deprive his brother, Esau, of his birthright. Jacob left home fearful that his brother would kill him.
A less well-known story is that some twenty years later Jacob moved back to his birthplace having acquired family, and amassed servants and livestock galore. He knew he would pass close to where Esau lived and he trembled at the thought that his brother would take revenge against his earlier deception. (Read what happened in Genesis chapter 32.)
Jacob also prayed about that challenge and his prayer is a guide to us when facing trouble.
O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac – We are coming to the God of the early figures of the historic faith which we follow. For many of us it is the God of parents and grandparents. For all of us it is the God of those who have gone before us in our church family. To this we can add something that Jacob couldn’t, “We have an advocate with the father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”(1 John 2:1 AV)
O Lord who said to me, “Go back to your country and your relatives and I will make you prosper” – Recall the important times when God has truly guided you.
I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. – Confess to God your shortcomings and downright failures and ask for his forgiveness.
I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two groups. Review your past as a matrix of God’s abundant provision and God’s mercy when you went awry.
Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children. – After due preparation, as above, pour your heart out to express the nub of your problem.
But you have said, “I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.” – Remind yourself of relevant promises of God, especially scriptural ones.
There are innumerable international, national, church-based, and personal predicaments that call for this kind of praying.