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Genesis 24:1–9 ‘“If the woman is unwilling to come back with you, then you will be released from this oath of mine. Only do not take my son back there.” So the servant put his hand under the thigh of his master Abraham and swore an oath to him concerning this matter.’ (vv8–9)

Prayer is never to force God’s hand. God established free will at the creation. Adam and Eve enjoyed choice in exercising obedience to God’s word. This free will has accompanied humanity from that point forward. However, Abraham had himself been guided by the intervention of an angel at the moment he was about to sacrifice his son, Isaac (Gen. 22:10–12). That angel is the Word of God, and now Abraham instructs his servant, placing complete confidence in God’s word as the means by which his prayer can be fulfilled. The servant trusts Abraham’s faith, and through his prayer witnesses God’s word in action in response to Abraham’s prayer (Gen. 24:12–13).

It’s important to note that Abraham does not demand his will is fulfilled (Gen 24:8). His servant is only obliged to honour Abraham’s preference expressed through prayer. This is important for we can become tongue tied and stagnate, worrying about the prayers we have made that apparently remain unanswered. Prayer is always to pursue God’s Word in the context into which we pray. The outworking of such well-intentioned prayer is for the Word of God to be seen within human affairs. Our responsibility is obedience, to give expression to what we sense is the appropriate content of our prayer. We cannot exercise control over the outcome; this is at God’s discretion alone. We may only ever pray by faith and trust in God’s grace in action, the fruit of which may well be hidden from our sight.

SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Gen. 24:34–54; Prov. 3:1–8; John 20:24–29; Heb. 11:1–6.

AN ACTION TO TAKE: How free are you with God in your prayers? Is yours the prayer of faith?

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, I bring my preferences to You in prayer and trust their outworking through Your grace. Amen.’

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.