Genesis 24 is a chapter often used to emphasize the Biblical teachings regarding marriage and God’s miraculous providence. This time, we recount the story through the perspective of the old servant and the evolution of his attitude toward the LORD as the work of God pans out before his eyes. The progression of his posture in prayer is a reflection of the progression of his faith through his experience of God.
“O Lord God of my master Abraham, please give me success this day, and show kindness to my master Abraham. Behold, here I stand by the well of water…” (Gen 24:12-13a)
At the start of his mission, he prays standing. Abraham had blessed him and assured him of the LORD’s help, so he gives prayer a try. He has most likely been with Abraham for many decades already, and therefore has probably heard many stories about God’s appearances to Abraham. He heard about God, about how He called Abraham, and possibly even witnessed how Isaac was born. Overall though, his faith is founded on another’s. Therefore, he prays with respect, but standing.
Almost immediately, this prayer begins to be answered. Even before he finishes, a woman appears and fulfills all that was spoken in his heart. Can this really be true? When the servant realizes that she is from Abraham’s family, he promptly “bow[s] down his head and worship[s] the LORD” (Gen 24:26). The second prayer he makes is no longer standing. Now that God is directly working in his life, it is almost as if he cannot help himself; he naturally bows his head in worship.
Finally, as the servant experiences God’s complete guidance and faithfulness to his master Abraham, “he worshiped the LORD, bowing himself to the earth” (Gen 24:52). This third and final prayer is of complete surrender, prostrate before God. After all, “what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the LORD our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him?” (Deut 4:7)
What is our reaction when God answers our prayers? Naturally, our hearts are filled with joy but also with a sense of wonder and awe. The Almighty God answered my prayer–He exists, and He listens! Therefore, everytime we come before the LORD in prayer, we need to remember to “check our posture.” When we physically kneel down, our hearts also must bow to the earth before the holy and living God in complete surrender.
Often, our hearts are not completely prostrated before God when we pray. We hold many things dear to us and often seek to please ourselves. We have so many dreams, goals, ambitions, and personal will. We hold onto these things so tightly as if we know what is best for us, when in fact it is our Creator, the Almighty God, who knows what is best. Don’t we trust that?
Surrender your heart; bow your head before the LORD. That is what trust and faith really is, and that is the best way to live. Let God dictate our lives. At the crossroads in life, let us humble ourselves before the LORD, and He will guide us to the end.