“O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the Lord who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your family, and I will deal well with you’: I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant; for I crossed over this Jordan with my staff, 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, lest he come and attack me and the mother with the children. For You said, ‘I will surely treat you well, and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude’” (Genesis 32:9–12 NKJV).
The reunion that gets results
One of the most moving and heartfelt reconciliations ever recorded in the annals of human history takes place in Genesis 33:4: “Esau ran to meet him [his brother Jacob], and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.” Over twenty years earlier Jacob had cheated his brother, Esau, out of his cherished birthright. Fearing retribution, he ran for his life and lived in exile for two decades, isolated from Esau’s threats of retaliation. What caused this amazing change of heart that turned years of hostility into a scene of tears and kisses? It was God moving in the hearts of everyone involved through the prayer of Jacob. Prayer changes things. More importantly, prayer changes people, and people then change things. This is a prayer that gets results.
Initially, Jacob appealed to God on the basis of a sure and established covenant relationship with Him. He addressed “the God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac.” This unbreakable covenant was established with Abraham (Genesis 12:1–3), repeated to Isaac (Genesis 17:19) and passed down to Jacob (Genesis 28:12–13). Jacob was in a covenant relationship with God Himself. And there is good news — so are we, through the new covenant. We have entered into this unbreakable relationship with Him.
All true prayer begins here where Jacob began, that is, with an acknowledgment of our covenant relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Some pray without seeing results simply because they have never been born into His forever family and entered into a lasting relationship with God, enabling them to approach Him saying, “Our Father.”
The prayer that gets results is scriptural
Note Jacob threw himself on God’s word and pleased a promise God had given him earlier, saying, “I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land” (Genesis 28:15). Now in his prayer he stood on that Bible promise as he addressed God as “the Lord who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your family, and I will deal well with you.’” Jacob stood on God’s personal promises when he prayed. Your Bible is filled with God’s promises to you; find one; stand on it. The prayer that gets results is based on the promises of God.
The prayer that gets results is sincere
Jacob continued, “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown.” He was not approaching God in prayer on the basis of his own merit. He avoided a proud position and sincerely acknowledged his total unworthiness before God.
When we realize that God doesn’t grant our requests on the basis of who we are or what we may have done but on the basis of who Jesus is and what He has done, we will come before God as Jacob did and discover when we look around that the throne room of prayer is covered with the blood of Christ and not our own good works.
The prayer that gets results is specific
There are no generalities in Jacob’s prayer. He got specific, “:Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him.” Many pray and see little results because their prayers are filled with nothing more than generalities when God wants us to request specific things from Him. Jacob told God exactly what his heart desired. For twenty years he had lived under the threat of retaliation, and in an instant God answered his prayer and changed the heart of Esau.
The prayer that gets results is selfless
Jacob sought no glory for himself. He closed his prayer with a higher motive, an eye to God’s own glory. “For You said, ‘I will surely treat you well, and make your descendants as the sand of the sea.’” Jacob longed for a reconciliation with his brother so that God would receive glory as His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and himself found fruition in the eyes of a watching world.
God is waiting, willing, even longing to answer your prayers with results that exceed your most optimistic hopes and desires. You can pray with amazing results and see your own prayers miraculously answered, as did Jacob. Make sure you pray on the basis of your established relationship with God through faith in the Lord Jesus. Then stand on His promises, repeat them back to Him, and appeal to Him on the basis of who Christ is and what He has done, not who you are and what you may or may not have done. Be specific when you pray. Lay it out before Him. And keep an eye out for God’s glory in the outcome. Our great Lord is far more interested in answering your prayers than you are in asking.
Code word: sand
The next time you see sand in an hourglass or look upon a beach, let it remind you that God kept His promise to make Abraham’s seed as “the sand of the sea” in number. And He keeps His promises to you today.
Code verse: You do not have because you do not ask (James 4:2).
Taken from The Prayer Code by O.S. Hawkins. Copyright © 2021 by Dr. O.S. Hawkins. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson
O.S. Hawkins has served pastorates, including the First Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, for more than 25 years. A native of Fort Worth, Texas, he has a BBA from Texas Christian University and his MDiv and Ph.D. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. For almost a quarter of a century, he served as president of GuideStone Financial Resources, with assets under management of $20 billion, serving 250,000 pastors, church staff members, missionaries, doctors, university professors, and other workers in various Christian organizations with their investment, retirement and benefit service needs. He is the author of more than 40 books, and regularly speaks to business groups and churches all across the nation. All of the author’s royalties and proceeds from the entire Code series go to support Mission:Dignity. You can learn more about Mission:Dignity by visiting MissionDignity.org.
Read more articles by Dr. O.S. Hawkins at: https://www.goodnewsfl.org/author/o-s-hawkins/