Prayer Bargain

There are two recorded prayers of Jacob in the Scriptures.  The first is in Genesis 28:20-22, and is essentially a Prayer Bargain.  Having just been given the dream revelation of a ladder to heaven with God giving him great promises, Jacob, ever the “trickster” at this point prays a bargain with God:  If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey…and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely…then the Lord will be my God, and this stone which I have set up as a pillar will be God’s House, and of all that You give me I will give You a tenth.  Notice all that Jacob expects from God — Presence, protection, provision — in return for Jacob’s worship, augmented by the offering of a simple stone and a simple tithe.  This kind of “bargain prayer” cost Jacob little, and yet ultimately was honored by God.  But it certainly isn’t a model prayer, one in which we ask God to do good for us and then, and only then, offer to worship Him in a small way.  In the materialistic culture in which we swim, this often becomes our bargain basement practice of prayer. May we rather emulate Jacob’s second recorded prayer in Genesis 32:9-12 (more on that next week).

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