Jacob said, “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 kindred, that I may do you good.’ 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, for with only my staff I cross this Jordan, and now I have become two camps. Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, that he may come and attack me, the mothers with the children. 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.'”
What a great picture of prayer that I want to encourage you with when it comes to how to pray, how we pray, from the very beginning of this prayer and at the very end. So kind of bookends on the prayer. Jacob says to God, “You said this, 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 kindred, that I may do you good.’ God, you told me to come back here.” And now at this point, Jacob is preparing to meet Esau and he’s concerned that Esau is going to attack and harm him and his family, because of the tension with Jacob and Esau before Jacob left.
This is a clear reminder of how we pray according to God’s word.
He’s afraid of that and so he says, “God you said this, God you said, ‘Return to your country and to your kindred, that I may do you good.'” That’s how he starts the prayer. And then how he ends the prayer he says, “I’m afraid God, 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.'” You see it like, this is to pray the word. This is Jacob saying, God, I’m praying right now based upon your word to me, based on what you said. And so it’s one clear reminder and a biblical prayer of how we pray according to God’s word. And we call on God to be faithful to his word. This is what praying involves, pleading before God based upon his word.
Now, let me make a specific application of this today in the church that I pastor, the NBC family here in Metro Washington DC. We are praying today in our worship gatherings that God would raise up and send out from among us people from our church family who will take the gospel to those who’ve never heard it before. We’re praying for Acts 13 to happen in our worship gatherings today for the Holy Spirit to set apart men, women, students from among us who will move to the unreached for the spread of the gospel there. And we are praying this based on God’s word. And so I want to ask you to pray with me for our church family today, but not just our church family, to pray this for your church, to pray this for each of our churches, a picture of a healthy biblical church necessarily involves the spread of the gospel to the nations from that church.
And so we should all be praying this according to God’s word. Jesus said, Matthew 9:37-38 just let me go ahead and dive in. I’m starting to pray according to God’s word. Jesus, you said, “The harvest is plentiful and the workers are few.”And you said, “Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into your harvest field.” So we are praying for what you said to happen. God, we pray this would happen today at NBC, that you would raise up workers to take the gospel where it is not yet gone. Lord, you said, “The workers are few.” We pray that more workers would be enlisted, set apart, eventually sent out as a result of our worship and our praying today. God, we pray that it would happen as you said. And God, we pray for this. In other churches God, I pray for this in every church represented in this podcast episode, God that you would raise up workers from all of our churches to take the gospel to people who’ve never heard it before.
God, we asked for that based on what you said in Matthew 9, based on what you tell us in Revelation 5:9, you tell us that Jesus has purchased people for you, from every nation, from every tribe, from every language, from all of them. And God, when we look and we see thousands and thousands of people groups, ethnic groups in the world that are still not reached by the gospel, you said that you love them all. You said that Jesus died for them. So, God, we pray that you will bring salvation to them all. That you would send out laborers, workers, brothers and sisters, your sons and daughters to take the good news of the ransom and rescue and redemption of Jesus to them.
God do it we pray according to your word. Do it today in our church family, do it in churches all across the world. God, we pray that every church will be sending out missionaries, sending out men and women for the spread of the gospel where it has gone according to your word. You said this, and you said that one day every nation tribe and tongue is going to be gathered around your throne. So bring it about oh God, we ask you to bring it about according to your word. In Jesus’ name we pray according to what you said. Amen.