Jacob didn’t just pray. He did everything he could to reconcile with his brother Esau, and also prayed. When Jacob had heard that his brother Esau was coming with 400 men, he sent his servants ahead of him with gifts and words to appease his anger. He also divided his family into two groups and sent them away, just in case.
He prayed with all of his heart and strength, “But Jacob stayed apart by himself, and a man wrestled with him until dawn broke. When the man saw that he couldn’t defeat Jacob, he grabbed Jacob’s thigh and tore a muscle in Jacob’s thigh as he wrestled with him. The man said, ‘Let me go because the dawn is breaking.’ But Jacob said, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’ The angel of the Lord said to Jacob, ‘what is your name’, and he said , ‘Jacob.’ Then he said, “Your name will not be Jacob any longer, but Israel, because you struggled with God and with men and won.”
Disciples’ Prayer ( Acts 4:23-31)
The Sanhedrin sent Peter and John away with a threat and prohibition not to speak or teach any more in the name of Jesus Christ. “After their release, Peter and John returned to the brothers and sisters and reported everything the chief priests and elders had said. They listened, and then lifted their voices in unison to God . . . (vv.23-24). They shared their prayer concerns with the community of believers and prayed together in unison. They prayed to God specifically, and God answered their prayer.
“Now, Lord take note of their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with complete confidence. Stretch out your hand to bring healing and enable signs and wonders to be performed through the name of Jesus, your holy servant. After they prayed, the place where they were gathered was shaken. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking God’s words with confidence” (vv.29-31). Not every prayer receives an immediate answer, but in this case, God strengthens the faith of the believers immediately.
Jesus’ Prayer (Synoptic Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke)
Prayer was his lifestyle: “Jesus left and made his way to the Mount of Olives, as was his custom” (Luke 22:36). Jesus prayed early in the morning. He prayed during the day and evening. He prayed before, during and after his ministries.
“Jesus and his disciples came to a place called Gethsemane. He took Peter, James, and John along with him. He began to feel despair and anxious” (Mark 14:32-33)
“Then he said to them, ‘I am very sad. It’s as if I’m dying. Stay here and keep alert with me.’ Then he went a short distance farther and fell on his face and prayed, ‘My father, if it is possible, take this cup of suffering away from me. However, not my will but your will must be done” (Matthew 26:38-39). Jesus prayed for God’s will!
He was in anguish and prayed even more earnestly. His sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground” (Luke 22:44). Let us compare our prayers with Jesus’! Jesus prayed with all of his strength. He poured his heart to his heavenly Father! Hannah, prophet Samuel’s mom poured her heart to God when she was praying to God. How do you pray?
He came and found them sleeping. He said to Peter, ‘Simon, are you asleep? ‘Couldn’t you stay alert for one hour?” Stay alert and pray so that you won’t give in to temptation. The spirit is eager, but the flesh is weak” (Mark 14:37-38).
This morning. we have learned how we should pray from Jacob, the disciples of Jesus, and Jesus himself. Let us also pray like them so that we also can overcome temptations and challenges. We can also move the mountains if we pray like them.