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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

VaYishlach 8-1

And (he) sent

Genesis 32:3(4 Heb.) – 32:12(13 Heb.)

And Jacob said, "O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O LORD who said to me, 'Return to your country and to your kindred, that I may do you good,' I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant, for with only my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps. Please deliver me from the hand of my b rother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, that he may come and attack me, the mothers with the children. But you said, 'I will surely do you good, and make your offspring as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.'"

Gen 32:9-12 ESV

How do we have to pray?

When Yaakov found out that Esav was coming against him with 400 men he was very scared. He did all in his hands to solve the situation in a human way. But his problem with Esav couldn't be solved with bribes and flattery. It was a psychological and spiritual problem in the first place. The hatred Esav felt against his brother was so strong that he hadn't been able to calm down in twenty years. This kind of hatred attracts demons strengthening the feeling and turning it into strong murder desires.         

Yaakov himself had caused that situation by the way he treated his brother. What he sowed, now he had to reap. But the Eternal wanted to bring peace among these siblings and therefore had to deal with the root of the problema i.e.Yaakov's heart in the first place and Esav's in the second.

Harsh treatment at Lavan's house was part of the divine treatment to correct the soul of our father. But he wasn't ready to enter in the land of the promise yet. He had to face his brother and fix what he had done twenty years before.

We cannot run away from the responsibility toward people we hurt. We have to face the situation and do our part so the Eternal can do His. If we run away from responsibility the Eternal will eventually bring up a circumstance so that we are confronted with the situation and learn to correct our mistakes, or to make tikkun – rectification.

Tension was growing strong and Yaakov started to pray. His prayer is a good example of how we have to pray. I want to underline three aspects of this prayer that can help with ours:

  1. Pray according to the Eternal's promises.

  2. Pray with a humble attitude.

  3. Pray with all honesty and transparency.

Yaakov based his prayer on what the Eternal had said. He pointed out the Eternal's promise twice.

His mind was saying that he was in a situation of grave danger soon facing a person who, with another 400, was determined to kill him. Yaakov didn’t stand a chance against all these men and his family was in danger of being totally destroyed.

On the other hand, the Eternal's promises said that Yaakov's offspring were going to multiply as the sand of the sea and that the Eternal would be with him when he came to the land. So, within Yaakov, there was a struggle between the reality in the physical world that he was experiencing and the spiritual promises of the Eternal. When Yaakov prayed, he decided to stress the promises over the situation. If one prays according to the Eternal's promises, prayer becomes very effective and they will produce a change in the physical reality.

Yaakov acknowledged that he wasn't worthy of receiving such riches. He knew that everything he had was due to the Eternal's mercy. If He had given him so much, not based on his own merit, but on divine grace, then He was interested in blessing Yaakov. Yaakov didn't cling to what he had, but acknowledged that he was a mere manager, and an unworthy one. This attitude is very valuable for the Eternal and is very effective when coming before Him in prayer.

Yaakov knew that should he not get help from heaven, Esav would kill him. Instead of playing faith hero and proclaiming the promises suppressing his reality and feelings of fear; he opened his heart to the Eternal and confessed that he was very scared. Fake faith has no impact on the Eternal, but honest humility and trust in the grace and mercy from the Eternal, Who makes the promises, does.

The true character of each person is revealed in the moment of a crisis. Under pressure, Yaakov turned to the Eternal in prayer, not trusting in his own strength, but remembering the Eternal's promises. He humbled himself and accepted that he was nobody; he was completely honest to say what he felt and feared, and the Eternal answered that prayer.

Let's follow the example of our father Yaakov.

May the Eternal answer your prayers according to His promises,



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