What to do in the face of fear…

Jacobs Prayer – Genesis 32:9-12

Jacob left his home in a hurry.  He left out of fear for his life.  He had tricked his father into giving him his brother’s blessing and his brother was not happy about it!  He stayed away for about 20 years, but it was time to obey God and go back, but, guess what?

HE WAS AFRAID!

In the face of fear, Jacob prayed:

“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; for with my staff only I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two companies. “Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, that he will come and attack me and the mothers with the children. “For You said, ‘I will surely prosper you and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which is too great to be numbered.’”

This simple, but powerful prayer was:

  1. A reminder of God’s command and promises that would come if he obeyed God.
  2. A prayer of humility and thankfulness for his blessings.
  3. A request for deliverance and protection.
  4. A prayer of honesty and real human feelings.
  5. A prayer closing with repeating God’s promise.

Jacob was finally acknowledging that his blessing must come from God.  He had striven his whole life to attain blessings, privilege, favor and acceptance from earthly men, but at this point, he knew that God was the only one who truly held his blessing and he fought for it!

This is when God renames him “Israel”, which means “one who struggles/strives with God and with man”

I love Jacob for his tenacity.  There were a lot of things in his life he had to learn from, but he did not give up and “God blessed him there.”

  1. What do you struggle with?  What are you afraid of?
  2. Do you strive to gain acceptance or favor from a certain person or group of people?
  3. What keeps you up at night?  What makes you want to give up?
  4. Do you trust God when things are hard or seem unfair?
  5. Is there something God is telling you to do that you need to obey?
  6. How is your prayer life? Is it full of humility and thankfulness for His blessings? Is it honest? hopeful? a reminder of God’s promises?
  7. What is your “take-away” from Jacob’s prayer?

When we pray and remind ourselves of God’s promises, thank Him for our blessings and ask for what we need from Him in the moment, it gives us a different perspective.  It doesn’t mean that the problem has magically gone away, it just means that we are trusting Him to solve it in His time.  It takes the pressure off of us to try to figure it out and leaves it with Him, because He can and will handle it!

We often say we “trust” God, but we don’t really want to be put in a place where we actually have to trust Him.  We learn from our experiences and processes.  Trust His process.  Being blessed with being on the other side of a difficult situation and seeing prayers answered, strengthens our faith and helps us to trust Him more.  We are not promised a life without difficulty, but we are promised peace and provision.  It’s an incredible feeling to experience the love, peace and provision of such an amazing God, who is always there, always listening and never forgets His promises.

James 5:16b – “… The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

John 16:33b – “… in Me you have peace.  In the world you have trouble, but take courage, I have overcome the world.”

Matthew 7:7 – “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”

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