Prayer, Blessing, and my Favorite Food

What is your favorite meal to cook and/or eat? As I considered this question and how it relates to prayer in the Bible, I remembered a man in the Bible whose favorite food is described before his wife prepares it for him. His name was Isaac and his wife Rebekah used his favorite food as part of her scheme to trick him into offering a prayer of blessing for their younger son Jacob rather than the heir apparent, his older brother Esau.

“Rebekah said to her son Jacob, ‘Look, I overheard your father say to your brother Esau, ‘Bring me some game and prepare me some tasty food to eat, so that I may give you my blessing in the presence of the LORD before I die.’ Now, myy son, listen carefully and do what I tell you: Go out the flock and bring me two choice young goats, so I can prepare some tasty food for your father, just the way he likes it. Then take it to your father to eat, so that he may give you his blessing” (Genesis 27:6-10).

Jacob protested, but eventually went along with his mother’s plan, which included covering his arms and neck with goatskins to simulate Esau’s greater hairiness. He presented the food to his blind father, who thought the voice was Jacob’s (as it was) but decided the son before him was indeed Esau (as it was not) after feeling the hair on his arms. After eating the food and drinking the wine that Jacob brought him, he blessed Jacob with this prayer,

“Ah, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field that the LORD has blessed. May God give you heaven’s dew and earth richness – an abundance of grain and new wine. May nations serve you and peoples bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may the sons of your mother bow down to you. May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed” (Genesis 27:27b-29).

Isaac advocated for his son in this prayer, calling for God to bless him richly with an abundance of food and drink but also with recognized leadership over his family. He asked that those who blessed him would be blessed and that those who cursed him would be cursed. In the context of the prayer, Isaac asked God to protect the son whom he was blessing. In contrast, when Isaac and Esau discover the deception and Esau pleads for a blessing of his own, Isaac speaks a much weaker blessing, although it includes hope for liberation from his brother’s power. The second blessing is not a call for God to bless Esau. It’s not a prayer. It is a father’s helping his son to cope with the reality of having lost his inheritance while giving him just a glimmer of hope. Isaac’s favoring of Esau and Rebekah’s favoring of Jacob are not examples of great parenting. Isaac’s faith and love for God show forth in the first blessing. His advocacy for his son in the prayer is a worthy example to follow for parents.

The prayer of blessing had been proceeded by Isaac’s favorite meal, prepared for him just the way his wife Rebekah knew he liked it. Which brings us back to the question of one’s favorite meal to cook or eat. I have craved lasagna since first tasting it over fifty years ago when a woman in a congregation where my father preached in Weirton, West Virginia baked it when she and her husband hosted our family for lunch at their home. For over twenty years now, I have prepared my own eight-cheese lasagna as part of my family’s Christmas meal. I include ground beef and mushrooms as well as garlic and cinnamon along with the variety of cheeses for a savory treat. I’ve included a picture of my 2022 Christmas lasagna. I accompany that lasagna with a prayer of gratitude to God for salvation through Jesus and for the lasagna as well as prayer of thankful blessing for my wife and children (and their children). May you enjoy your favorite food as you advocate for your family in prayer and ask God to bless them.

*Quotes from the Bible are from the New International Version.


About Michael Summers

Michael Waymon Summers has preached in twenty-seven of the United States as well as seven other countries. Michael earned a Master of Theology degree. He also has done graduate work in international studies. Michael likes to run, loves to sing, and reads voraciously.
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