9 Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, Lord, you who said to me, ‘Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper,’ 10 I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two camps. 11 Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children. 12 But you have said, ‘I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.'” Genesis 32:9-12
In what seems like an act of desperation, Jacob thanks and praises God for his blessings. After pleading for his life, he reminds God of His promises to continue to bless him. We might call this a foxhole prayer, a prayer prayed while in the trenches of a battle and when it’s looking gloomy. Promises are made in foxholes. In exchange for longer life, the person praying promises more than normal.
With Jacob, of course, it’s different. He was promised blessing and prosperity. Up to this point God has fulfilled His promise, and Jacob’s family line would continue.
Jacob may have prayed many times but very few of those prayers are recorded. Fortunately we get to see one that is as real as what we pray.
Don’t miss the fear in Jacob’s prayer. He has no idea what to expect when he meets up with his brother. He never repented of lying to his father and brother but he feels like he needs to see him again.
Jacob’s prayer, while self-serving, gives us a mini-model for our prayers. Praise, thankfulness, request, emotion, recite promises we know will be fulfilled in our lives.