Genesis 32:3-12

What motivates you to pray?

If you learned that the brother you cheated twenty years ago was headed your way with a posse of four hundred men, might you bow your head for “a word of prayer”? That would do it for most of us!

Knowing God’s character might motivate you also. Jacob describes God as the God of my father Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob (v. 9). In his hour of crisis, Jacob recalls his father and grandfather and their experiences with the Holy One. He remembers ancestors who walked with God. Their stories are now a part of his story and faith—shaky as it may be at this moment—as he attempts to respond to the Lord who told him to return to his homeland. 

Faith is usually born via observation. We see it at work in others—like parents or grandparents—and choose to follow their example. One day, Jacob’s descendants, and the millions in their caravan, will offer their own prayers to the “God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,” (Ex 3:15). But in this moment Jacob has no proof that his faith will hold or that he will survive. All he has is the uncertain, desperate situation before him and the legacy of visible faith that his predecessors gave him. 

But is it not a grand thought that, just as other people’s believing has nourished and inspired your own, so your life of faith might steady tomorrow’s believers when life seems toughest? 


Who are the believers whose faith legacy nurtures you? Thank God for them again today.


God, strengthen my faith to become an encouraging legacy that steadies others. Amen.

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