Learning to Pray to receive an answer from God
Abraham was of old age and no longer had the strength for the journey, so he asked his most trusted servant. Yes, Abraham had servants but that was the norm over 4,000 years ago so to ensure we understand the true context we should advance the language to 2020. We will substitute the word servant for employee or worker. Abraham as an entrepreneur, who owned his own ranch, had workers that he paid to tend to the flock. For that type of labor there was no other word than servant, there was no employment, or employers, or fair labor laws. The kindness and goodness of Abraham was to provide, support, and share his wealth with employees (servants) to live a good life also as they worked on the ranch.
First Abraham gave the employee specific instructions:
1. Go to his homeland, do not find a wife for Isaac in Canaan
2. He encouraged the employee by assuring him that God would send an angel to prepare the atmosphere for when he arrives. Verse 7
3. Abraham gave the employee a safe landing, if the woman did not want to return with him then he was released of the oath which meant his duties were completed
Our own imagination or schema about what a servant is contradicts how Abraham is treating this man. The employee was his most trusted employee, probably had the longest tenure with him and oversaw all his affairs. Today we would say the employee is the CEO of the company and Abraham is the owner of the company. The CEO, employee, servant was given a task to perform with specific instructions but the responsibility for fulfilling the task was on God. All the servant had to do is be the vessel. When he went the servant said a prayer:
“Then he prayed, “O Lord, God of my master Abraham, give me success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. May it be that when I say to a girl, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’ – let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.” Genesis 24:12-14 NIV
Highlights of the Prayer:
1. The servant and Abraham both pray to the same God and they are both praying for the same thing…to find a wife for Isaac from Abraham's homeland.
2. The word kindness is used in most translations, but the Spanish bible in NIV uses the word “amor” which means love. So, the servant asked God to show his “love” for Abraham by answering his prayer.
3. The Servant was clear by establishing conditions for knowing it was God answering the prayer “The girl he approaches, gives him water and grabs water for the camels.”
4. Lastly verse 15 states that before he could finish his prayer the woman approached him with water.
Our prayers must agree, if two people are praying for separate outcomes then nothing should happen. We should not be surprised if God does not answer because there is division and disagreement about what is being requested. Also, we must be specific in our prayer and not ramble, the servant said he would know it was from God if specific conditions were met. The problem here is that many of us will establish conditions to hear from God but when he does not meet those conditions we assume we are not hearing from him, or he must have not heard my prayer and conditions. No, the reality is that was not for you and you should move on. You did not hear from God because that is not his will for your life. This does not mean we need to change the conditions; this means the answer is No and we should praise God for protecting us from ourselves.
Practical prayers that God answers with a Yes or No!