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(10-02-07) Prayer 2 – Jacob’s Prayer for Mercy

Gen. 32:6-12

Jacob may have been the original “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” He struggles with tendencies to act in less than honorable ways, yet he also struggles to be a man of faith.

Jacob’s relationships, including that with his brother Esau, often reflect these inconsistencies. His selfishness and deceitfulness in taking from his brother the birthright that rightfully belonged to him, created a dangerous situation. Jacob actually fled his homeland because he was afraid of his brother. Years later, when returning with his family and wealth, the news that his brother was coming to meet him still caused great fear to overwhelm him. Then he prayed.

What Can We Learn?
1. Jacob prayed to the God of his fathers, which may have been an appeal to God’s faithfulness.

2. Jacob also addressed God as his God, the one who had spoken to him.

3. He prayed in an attitude of contrition, humility, and self-abasement.

4. Behind the prayer is evidently a man who no longer desires to live by deception, and so he prays for God’s deliverance.

5. He shows us that fear and the knowledge that we lack sufficient resources are good reasons to pray.

More About Prayer for Mercy
1. Mercy is the frequent companion of grace. While grace is getting what you don’t deserve, mercy is not getting what you deserve. Jacob shows us our frequent need for mercy.

2. Mercy seeks God’s pardon for sin.

3. Mercy requires admission and confession of sin.

Questions to Ponder
1. For what do you need to ask mercy?

2. How did God reconcile the brothers Jacob and Esau?

3. Do you think a person must feel helpless before he or she will seek God’s mercy? Why or why not?

4. Why do you think some people might actively avoid asking for God’s mercy?

5. What must a person believe about God before he or she will ask for mercy?

6. How does Hebrews 4:16 help encourage us to seek God’s mercy?

7. How would you know if God answered your prayers for mercy?

1 comment:

Twisting his arm said...

3. Do you think a person must feel helpless before he or she will seek God’s mercy? Why or why not?

This question really struck me. When I seek God’s mercy, I feel unable to help myself but I don’t feel helpless because I know He is there for me. I believe God wants to forgive me and help me get back on track after I have messed stuff up. His willingness to provide mercy so easily fills me with hope and comfort but also determination. I am determined to seek God’s will FIRST so I can hopefully avoid having to seek mercy all the time.