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God's Promise: Genesis Part Two |  the galaxy with stars and  purple, orange, and blue clouds. God's Promise: Genesis Part Two |  the galaxy with stars and  purple, orange, and blue clouds.

Daily Devotional | Fearful Prayers

Have you ever been driven to pray because you were afraid? Some people view “save me” prayers cynically. We worry that our thoughts only turn to prayer when we are desperate, while the rest of the time God is forgotten. But scary situations also bring to the surface what we truly believe. “Save me” prayers show that we are completely dependent upon the Lord and need His help.

When Jacob last saw Esau, his brother wanted to kill him. Jacob knew he had to resolve things with his brother if he wanted to return home. As Jacob prepared for their meeting, two aspects of his character are on full display. First, we see Jacob the master manipulator. When Jacob heard that his brother was coming with 400 men, he sent 550 animals in several different groups ahead of him to meet his brother (vv. 13–20). These were all gifts for Esau. These flocks represented an enormous amount of wealth. Jacob wanted Esau in a good mood when they met! Or perhaps he was trying to make up for stealing his birthright and blessing (v. 20).

Second, we see Jacob turn to God in prayer. In one of the longest prayers in Genesis, Jacob begged God: “Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau” (v. 11). He reminded God (and himself) that it was on God’s orders that he returned to Canaan (v. 9). He also confessed that he was “unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness” God had shown him (v. 10). He concluded the prayer with a reminder of God’s promise to Abraham, which had been passed down to him (v. 12). This was no generic prayer, but one based on God’s word and God’s promises.

Go Deeper

Have you ever prayed a “save me” prayer? What happened? How did God fulfill His promises to you?

Pray with Us: Lord God, thank You for reminding us through the story of Jacob and Esau that You love to bless Your people. But Christ’s love for us tells a new story. Thank You that in Jesus, we discover what it means to be truly known and loved.

BY Ryan Cook

Dr. Ryan Cook has taught at Moody Bible Institute since 2012. He earned his bachelor of arts in Bible and Theology from Moody and his master of arts in Old Testament from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. He has worked in Christian education and served as a pastor in Michigan for seven years. During his time as a professor at Moody, he earned his doctorate from Asbury Theological Seminary. He now lives with his wife, Ashley, and their three children in the Chicagoland area.

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