By Tyson Thorne

December 25, 2013

Preparation large

A life marked by prayer would be incomplete without the prayer of preparation. After confession and the forms of prayer for immediate concerns, this form focuses on the future. Throughout first and second Samuel we see David asking the Lord if he will be victorious before undertaking a battle or chase. Near the end of the gospels Jesus prays before heading to Calvary. But our first observation of this kind of prayer is found in Genesis 32.

After stealing his brother Esau’s blessing Jacob fled to his uncle’s home, where he worked for many years and married Laban’s two daughters, Leigh and Rachel. When he received word that his brother was coming to visit, he assumed the worst and began making preparations. He divided his livestock into two separate groups, thinking that if one was taken the other might escape. He then went to the Lord in prayer.

“O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, O Lord, you said to me, ‘Return to your land and to your relatives and I will make you prosper.’ I am not worthy of all the faithful love you have shown your servant. With only my walking stick I crossed the Jordan, but now I have become two camps. Rescue me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, as well as the mothers with their children. But you said, ‘I will certainly make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand on the seashore, too numerous to count.’”

A common theme of biblical prayers is humility. While preparing for his brothers visit/invasion Jacob makes every preparation, never forgetting to spend some time on his knees. At a Bible study or church service everyone expects opening and closing prayers. In the day-to-day living, however, most of our expectations are small if existent at all. How many of God’s people, including pastors, spend time each night or morning preparing for the day ahead in prayer? We may not be facing a great challenge like Jacob, but as Jesus reminds us, each day “has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6.34). How many of those troubles might be avoided, or perhaps better responded to, if we’d only spent more time connecting with our Lord?

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