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Jacob’s vow: making a deal with God

In times of uncertainty or doubt, many of us have prayed, “Lord, IF You will ___(fill in the blank), THEN I will ___(fill in the blank.)” That’s what Jacob did.
This son of Isaac and twin brother of Esau didn't know if God would be with him the way He had been with Jacob’s grandfather Abraham. He’d undoubtedly heard his family’s stories of faith, but maybe he thought that tricking his brother and his father had put him on the outs with God.
Now on the run from his brother’s wrath, Jacob fled toward his mother’s family many, many miles away. Alone and in new terrain, he made a vow to God in this prayer:


Genesis 28:20-22 from the King James Version of the Bible
and the Book of KJV prayers
And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God: And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's ho…

God prays creation into being

The very first prayers in the Bible resound with God’s poetic prayers and “Amen!”

Each “Let there be” begins an “Amen” to God’s prayers for us as our Heavenly Father and Creator God calls into being every living thing in the heavens and on the earth.

This poem prayer-a-phrases the beginning of that beginning as shown in today’s Bible reading from Genesis 1:

God’s Prayers for Creation
Genesis 1:1-13

In the beginning,
God….

In the beginning –

Chaos! Darkness!
A wasteland! A world
unformed….

Then a mighty wind –
Ruah –
swept over the waters,
the Spirit of God
hovered over the waters,

and God prayed:

“Let there be light,”
and the light answered
God’s prayer,
and it was good.

So God separated the light
from darkness.
God separated the waters above
and the waters below,
and the dry land appeared
at God’s calling,
and it was good.

Then God prayed:
“Let the earth bring forth,”
and the earth responded;
the earth obeyed,
and it was good.

© 2015, Mary Harwell Sayler, a poet, writer, and lifelo…

Jacobs wrestles an angel and becomes Israel

Background: When Jacob fled from home after wrestling his father’s blessing from Esau, he vowed to worship God if everything happened as promised. It did, of course, since God does not and cannot lie. However, many years went by before Jacob felt free to go home.

After the long journey began, God sent angels to greet Jacob. In turn, Jacob sent his servants to meet, greet, and make peace with his older twin brother Esau of whom he was greatly afraid (Genesis 32:7.) To protect himself and his family, Jacob divided the people and livestock into two camps, thinking that, if Esau destroyed one, the other would be able to escape. (Genesis 32:8.)

Then Jacob prayed: “O, LORD God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, You told me, ‘Return to your land and the place of your birth, and I will do well for you.’ But LORD, I am not worthy of the least of Your mercies or of Your truth which You have fulfilled for me, Your servant. With only my walking stick, I passed over the Jordan River…

Praying for purpose, praying for peace

“This records the family of Isaac, the son of Abraham: When Isaac was forty years old, he married Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan-aram and sister of Laban the Aramean. Isaac pleaded with the Lord on behalf of his wife because she had no children. The Lord answered Isaac’s prayer, and Rebekah became pregnant with twins. When the two children struggled in her womb, she asked the Lord why this was happening, and the Lord told her, ‘The sons in your womb will become two rival nations. One nation will be stronger than the other, and your older child will serve the younger,” Genesis 25:19-23.

Questions: With whom or what do you struggle? Is your old self struggling with your new self in God?

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, looking back at old ways and looking forward to new is like carrying twin thoughts that fight within me! Help me, Lord, to move forward into Your plan and purpose for my life with no fears and no regrets. Thank You for giving Your prayers, Your guid…

Getting very specific in prayer

Background: Long after Abraham prayed for God to favor Ishmael, he and his wife Sarah brought up their son Isaac to become the heir whom God had named. Sometime before the young man turned thirty, his mother died and was buried in a cave that Abraham had purchased at full price near Mamre (also known as Hebron) in the land of Canaan. Despite the family ties to that area, Abraham did not want his son to marry a Canaanite woman. He was so adamant in fact that he made his chief servant swear to go to Abraham’s homeland and find Isaac a wife among their own kin.

The servant gave no objection to the request but showed concern for the success of his mission. When he asked Abraham what to do if no woman wanted to come home with him to meet Isaac, his master said, “The LORD God of heaven will send an angel before you,” Genesis 24:7-8. Abraham further assured the man that, if God did not take care of everything, the chief servant would be released from his oath. The man promised to obey his ma…

Can one prayer make a difference in places like Sodom and Gomorrah?

Background: During the heat of the day Abraham sat by the door to his tent, shaded by the oaks of Mamre. Suddenly he saw three men appear out of nowhere! Jumping to his feet, Abraham hurried to greet the unexpected guests and offer precious water for them to drink and bathe while his wife Sarah prepared a fine meal.

When the men (or, more likely, angels) finished eating, they delivered a message from God, saying the elderly couple would give birth to a son within a year. Sarah laughed to herself at the thought, but one of the visitors heard and asked, “Is anything too hard for the LORD?”

Rising to leave, the heavenly beings looked on the city of Sodom. Outcries from there and Gomorrah screamed of the need for something to be done about unjust, perverse, and perverted ways. As the angels headed toward Sodom, God remained with Abraham, telling him what to expect:

“And Abraham came near and asked, ‘Will You really sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose fifty righteous people l…

Melchizedek: A priest prays for Abraham

Background: When Abram heard that his nephew Lot had been captured by the joint forces of four kings, he rounded up 318 men from his servants and set out to rescue his brother’s son. Abram not only accomplished this military feat, he also freed the people and possessions taken from their homes in Sodom and Gomorrah. Afterward, the king of Sodom came out to greet the returning hero in the Kings’ Valley and told him to keep the things belonging to the people of his town, but Abram refused. As he explained, he did not want anyone thinking the king of Sodom had made him rich!

At some point during this conversation, the Bible reports that the priest-king of Salem also came out to meet Abram, bringing bread and wine. No one knows anything about the ancestry of this priest-king to whom the fifth chapter of Hebrews later refers as “a priest forever.” Regardless, the man came from an area whose name stems from the Hebrew word “Shalom,” meaning “peace.”

“Melchizedek, the king of Salem and prie…
Background:
After Adam and Eve, after Cain and Abel, after the third generation of humankind began calling on the name of the Lord, many, many centuries passed. Heavenly beings did whatever they wanted, creating chaos and, quite possibly, mythological creatures (Genesis 6:1-4.) Human beings did whatever they wanted, and their relationships with God and one another deteriorated (Genesis 6:5.) The whole universe had gotten into an unbearable, terrible mess!

Within this scene of deterioration and depravity, Noah stood out like a bright light of righteousness. God noticed, of course, and came to Noah with a plan and a promise. As Genesis 7-8 recorded, God used a flood to wipe out everything and start over with Noah, his family, and every animal on earth.

After the floodwaters had dried, Noah built an altar and offered a sacrifice to God (Genesis 8:20.) If he prayed to God or praised and thanked God for protecting and saving him and his family, the Bible did not say. Instead Genesis 9 …

First Bible prayer or first complaint?

Background: In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had communion and fellowship with God similar to conversational prayer. Since they had everything they could possibly need and more, they did not ask for anything, but when they disobeyed God, everything changed. Even then, however, the Bible does not mention their asking God for forgiveness, maybe because they did not!

Regardless, the couple left the Garden as God commanded, and, outside of Eden, they eventually had a family. The Bible does not say what Adam and Eve told their children about God as they were growing up, but for some reason, both sons thought they needed to give God a gift, perhaps to get back into the Garden or into God’s good graces.

At any rate, Cain offered some of the produce from his garden, while Abel gave the very best of his flock. God accepted Abel’s gift, but not Cain’s off-hand offering, which infuriated the man so much that he killed his younger brother. God then confronted Cain, who responded with the res…

Calling on the Name of the Lord

“Adam and his wife had another son, whom they named him Seth (i.e., given) because, as they said, `God has given us a son to take the place of Abel, whom his brother Cain has killed.’

Then, when Seth had a son, he named him Enosh. And at that time people began to call on the Name of the LORD,” Genesis 4:25-26.

After the Fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden…

After disobedience, blame, and denial ruined a perfect world…

After the first jealous rage led to murder…

After one brother killed another…

After a new start and a new family began in the God-given son of Seth...

People began to call on the Name of the Lord.

Question: Do I sometimes take a while to call on God? Why?

Prayer: Dear LORD God, Who Gives and Restores, help me to call on You before I fall. If I forget, please remind me. Help me to stay attuned to You and readily hear and respond as You call my name.

~~
© 2012, Mary Sayler, all rights reserved.