Bold Prayer; April 18, 2021

Genesis 24:12 Then he prayed, “O Lord, God of my master Abraham, give me success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham.”

This is a very interesting story. We don’t even know the name of this servant/slave, though it’s not unreasonable to guess that he was Eliezer of Damascus, mentioned as a potential heir for Abraham. (Genesis 15:2) In any case, his loyalty is unquestionable. Abraham had given him a very clear, simple, and actually easy “escape clause” to his oath, so he was not under pressure personally, but he knew that what Abraham had asked was improbable, to put it mildly. Here he prays, and it is interesting how he does it. I doubt very much that he was monotheistic in his personal theology, but he had seen that his master’s God was both real and personal, so he prayed to Him. I would guess that his faith in the Lord was greatly strengthened by the outcome of his prayer! He wasn’t praying for himself, but rather that the Lord would be gracious to Abraham who had sent him on this “fool’s journey.” He had no way of knowing who was who among the girls who came to the well, so he asked for a very specific indicator, and was blown out of the water when it was granted exactly. It was no small matter to draw water for ten camels! He knew that God had led him to a girl who was not only beautiful, she was a very hard worker. We sometimes fail to ask God for things He wants to give us, thinking that they are too extreme or too individual, but God is more than able to do anything at all. The story of Gideon and the fleece is famous. (Judges 6:36-40) We aren’t to run around thinking up tests for God, but in this instance it was meeting a very specific need. We generally pray too small. If we are genuinely seeking God’s kingdom and His righteousness, we can trust the Holy Spirit to guide our prayers according to the Father’s will.

My personal association with this story is strongest from the fact that I was asked to read the entire chapter at my sister’s wedding, by my soon-to-be brother-in-law. (Afterward, he conceded that he should have asked for an edited version!) He felt that he had been led to my sister as surely as this servant was led to Rebekah, and that’s a beautiful thing. I myself was led very clearly and surely to my wife, to the surprise of quite a few people who knew us. Of more importance at the moment is my willingness to pray for what God wants to do here and now. I am very hesitant to ask God for specific signs, which probably indicates a lack of faith on my part that He will grant them! I need to trust that I am in the flow of God’s plan and that He has things for me to do. I don’t want to demand that He use me, but I do have assurance that He’s not through with me. Just in the past few days I have felt a renewal of anticipation at what God is going to do, and it’s exciting. Today I’m going to be preaching on the baptism in the Holy Spirit, as I have done several times before. The fact that we haven’t had a massive outpouring any previous time doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen today! I am painfully aware that I can’t make it happen, but I have this growing conviction that God wants to do it, and I’m not to stand in His way by my inaction coming from lack of faith. After all, the servant in this story made the long journey and showed up where he was supposed to be when He was supposed to be there. I have even more reason to be loyal to my Lord than he did!

Father, I do ask You to pour Your Spirit out on this congregation, even today. We’re expecting a small turnout, particularly compared to last week. I ask You to bring those who are hungry for more of You, and to meet their hunger abundantly, for the sake of Your kingdom and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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