Joseph and his khaki-coloured prayer shawl
Joseph’s story from sneaky, swanky, daddy’s-pet dreamer to practical, protective first lord of Egypt is in Genesis 37-50. We’re told God was with him, as Potiphar’s slave, and in prison; God tells him what dreams mean, for his fellow prisoners and Pharaoh; and he sees God’s hand in his whole life, from betrayed little brother to family saviour in the famine. Missing from the record are his prayers, but I think he must have prayed.
Put yourself in his sandals. How would you pray when God gave you dreams of greatness? Or how do you pray about his promises? Wouldn’t you cry out to God in a pit, hungry, thirsty, bruised and miserable; or horrified as brothers flogged you off as a slave for 20 shekels; or on the long, hard road south to Egypt? And isn’t it likely he prayed to keep his hands off the boss’s wife when she come-hithered him? Don’t you need to pray to keep on the straight and narrow when temptation looms?
He must have asked God what those dreams meant. And when suddenly promoted to government with a famine portfolio, wouldn’t you seek guidance about what to do? Then as he saw the famine affecting his far-off family, he must have worried (and prayed?) about them. And when those brothers of his showed up – how to handle that but by prayer! Similarly how to avoid ethnic strife when his whole clan came to Egypt.
The fact that he saw God’s hand in it all suggests strongly that he did pray, even though so camouflaged in the account that we can see it only in our imaginations. And I for one imagine also that he thanked God, over and over again, as we all should too (Col 3:17).
A prayer for each week
Lord of the nations, and also of each person and family, please help us to put our trust in you: utterly, absolutely, always and for everything – through Jesus. Amen.
Lord of the future, and also of the present, please help us to seek and follow your guidance today, for only you know where the good road runs – after Jesus. Amen.
Lord of the unexpected, and also of the everyday and ordinary, please help us see what you are doing, and gladly obey in each opportunity – trusting Jesus. Amen.
Lord of amazing outcomes, tying together loose threads we could never have matched up, please fill our hearts continually with thankful praise – glorifying Jesus. Amen.
Your own prayers