“We came to your brother Esau, and…he is coming to meet you.’…Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed. ” Genesis 32:7
Fear is a great motivator. Prayerless people are spurred to a new level of prayer by all kinds of crises. Jacob was no exception. He had wronged his brother, Esau, and the day of reckoning was at hand.
Jacob the deceiver expected to become the receiver of some rough justice from his brother, Esau. The worst part was, he knew he had it coming.
Jacob was at the end of his rope, but he was not through making rope. Prayerless people are master rope-makers.
“He divided the people who were with him…into two companies…” V. 7
Jacob was not implementing a plan of attack. He was looking for a way of escape. Jacob was a shrewd man, not a wise man. Being shrewd is the world’s substitute for wisdom. A shrewd man tries to keep his options open even when he doesn’t have any.
“If Esau comes to the one company and attacks it, then the company which is left will escape.” V. 8
Blind panic may be the lowest motivation for prayer, but it is still a highly effective one. Jacob may have been out of options, but he was not looking forward to the consequences of his behavior. God intended for him to face the consequences.
When your fear turns into prayer, your foolishness will evaporate in the Presence of God. Prayer releases your tight grip on the crisis at hand and places it in God’s hands. Don’t be a fool. Pray.
When Jacob finally came face to face with his crisis, he turned his face towards God. Prayer is always the wisest move you can make when faced with a crisis, and overwhelmed by panic. No matter what your motivation may be for prayer, just start praying. God hears prayers forged in the furnace of panic.
“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 relatives, and I will prosper you,’ ‘I am unworthy of all the lovingkindness and of all the faithfulness which You have shown to Your servant…Deliver me, I pray.” Genesis 32:9-11
Jacob’s obedience to God, not his rebellion, had put him face to face with an encounter with his wronged brother. When he heard God say, “Return to your country,” Jacob must have known this day of reckoning was coming. He obeyed God anyway. Then he prayed when he realized where his obedience had led him.
“O God of my father” – Turning to God involves being right with God. Being right with God includes making things right with others. When Jacob remembered to get with God, God improved his memory about what Jacob had done to his brother.
“I am unworthy” – There comes a point in prayer when being right with God is all that matters. The masks of pretentious infallibility and self-righteous rationalization are dropped. Standing under the gaze of omniscient God, leads to one assessment. “I am unworthy.” The prayerful know they are unworthy. They don’t make excuses for it. They admit it to God.
“Deliver me, I pray.” - Deliverance is not an escape from conflict. It is a victory in the middle of a battle. Prayerful people trust God.
NOTE TO SELF: If God has brought you to it, then God will bring you through it. God intended for Jacob to meet his brother face to face. When he ran out of rope, he ran to God. Prayer is where the battle is won. When you come face to face with a crisis, get face to face with God. You aren’t worthy of God’s lovingkindness and faithfulness. Jesus is. Pray in His name. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!