And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.  (Genesis 33:4)

Jacob’s anguished prayer accomplished more than he dared to ask. He hadn’t expected so much comfort from God from his brother.

All he had asked for was that his brother would leave him and his family unharmed. He never thought he would receive so much kindness from his brother.

Esau even ran to meet Jacob. With tears streaming from his eyes, he hugged and kissed him. We should have confidence, knowing that God will answer our requests without delay.

It’s impossible for sincere, persistent prayer to remain unheard. But because we don’t believe, we aren’t persistent enough and don’t experience God’s goodness and help.

So we must become more enthusiastic about faith and prayer, knowing that God is pleased when we persevere. In fact, God ordered us to be persistent in prayer:

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. (Matthew 7:7)

Our prayers are answered much differently—actually. more generously—than we could ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Paul says:

26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27)

We always ask for less than we should and don’t even think God is willing to give us what we ask for. We don’t ask the right way.

We don’t understand that what we pray about is more important than we can comprehend. We think small, but the Lord is great and powerful.

He expects us to ask for great things. He wants to give them to us to demonstrate his almighty power. ((Martin Luther, Faith Alone [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005], February 8.))

Martin Luther

Further reading