“May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed” - Psalm 20:4 (NIV).
In Africa there are many cultures where bridal negotiations are still taken very seriously. A bridal party goes well armed with a renowned go between speaker who once on the scene quickly gets to the task of persuading the family to release their daughter. A stiff price is set and hot bargaining ensues. There are cases where these negotiations have lasted into the night with either party not eager to cease ground. Meanwhile, the fiancé and his betrothed are helplessly tied down somewhere, with little they can do to influence negotiations. Maybe a sudden stroke of luck ultimately causes the family to relent and surrender their daughter! Whenever that finally comes the feeling of victory is unanimous.
The idea of a party going to a distant land to fetch a wife is a long tradition. When Abraham was up in years he picked up his most able servant whom he sent back to his native land for an apparent bridal-go-get mission. Unlike the kwanjula (introduction) parties you hear of, this servant was sent alone, with a few items. But then he knew much better. Just as he got to town he paused and did one decisive thing. “Then he prayed, “Lord, God of my master Abraham, make me successful 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 young woman, ‘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).
To cut the long story short, when eventually he was ushered into the presence of the girl he had zeroed in, Rebekah, the parents, Laban and Bethuel answered, “This is from the Lord; we can say nothing to you one way or the other. Here is Rebekah; take her and go, and let her become the wife of your master’s son, as the Lord has directed” (vv 50- 51). No doubt this has been recorded as one of the fastest bridal negotiations ever in history.
There is a saying that when the Lord is into something then there is no need for sweat. All it took here was a servant’s prayer. There was no long bridal negotiation meeting lasting deep into the night. The Lord had gone ahead of Abraham’s servant and opened the way ahead of him. And may this be your prayer and blessing too!
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I pray you go ahead of me in this mission that appears complicated but with you ahead only victory awaits, this I pray in Jesus’s name!
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“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God”- (Philippians 4:6).
Perhaps you have heard of a certain old magical trade known as mind reading. According to this trade which has been around for millenniums and has its share of tricksters, mind readers are able to discern thought patterns of individuals before they even utter a word. There are places in the world where this, as expected, is a lucrative occupation, with practitioners, often crafty magicians, demanding hefty fees, just to tell thoughts of others.
As Christians, of course, we have an all knowing God, who has said, “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” ( Mathew 6:8). Further, our Lord has pointed out, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words” ( Mathew 6:7). As Christians when we come to God, we do so with full confidence, that He already knows our needs and will meet them according to his glorious riches in heaven.
Of particular interest for us here is that while God perfectly knows our needs before we even dare utter a single word, still it is incumbent upon us to make our requests known to Him. A parent may have long noticed a child has a need for a new pair of shoes; but it is another dimension, when the child does come out and share aloud that his pair is worn out, hurting and is quite in need of a new one. The parent takes notice, especially when the matter is presented with such conviction and urgency. This is why Hannah cried out to God for a child ( 1 Samuel 1:9-18).
In our relationship with God, as the Apostle Paul advises us, it is not just enough to assume and let matters be, that after all God knows all our needs, but we too bear a responsibility to make our requests known to Him. Once we are done with that, we let God do His part, allowing “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” ( Philippians 4:7) to flood us.
So, today, do not hold back your needs from the Almighty God. He has paved the way to walk to Him through His son Jesus Christ, to present your case, bear out your heart’s desire, and let Him do His part!
Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I rise to make my requests known to you, knowing you have heard me even before I utter a single word, assured that you will meet each and every one of my needs, according to your glorious riches in heaven!