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).