And Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, 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. Please deliver me from the hand of Esau, for I fear him. 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.’ ” Genesis 32:9-12
I lived many days where prayers were casual. “Bless our family today and help us love and serve you more!” I even prayed this while driving, filing papers, or eating my morning yogurt. But I learned in my twenties that there was another kind of prayer, the kind that Jacob prayed before Esau came to meet him with 400 armed men. We often fall to our knees when we’re fighting for our lives.
The door jam in our house that borders our guest room has been gripped and wet with tears on many, many occasions. Getting up in the night to pray, I laid my head against it, held on to the frame tightly, and pleaded with God to remember His covenant with me and my family. Utter desperation has been the backdrop of these prayers. They are respectful prayers but not necessarily polite, with attempts to say things just right. Desperate prayers spill out of desperation, and they are often incoherent.
It is not arrogant to come humbly before God and remind Him of His promises, to take hold of the hem of His garment and plead for your life. It’s the equivalent of a child saying to his father, “But you said!” My relationship with Him is often one where I wrestle over my Canaan. While praying, I’m usually trying to get to the bottom of my own angst and inaccurate perceptions of His character.
God is a Covenant Maker and does not make promises begrudgingly.
You delight in Your covenant relationship with me. I am in awe. Amen