Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah as wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padan Aram, the sister of Laban the Syrian. Now Isaac pleaded with the Lord for his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord granted his plea, and Rebekah his wife conceived. (Genesis 25:20-21)
In these verses, a new section of Genesis begins. The promise made to Abraham continues through his son, Isaac. But for that story to go forward, once again, God had to intervene. Rebekah was barren for the first twenty years of their marriage. Sarah before her, and Rachel after her were in the same situation. That they all conceived demonstrates God’s participation in the development of the family called Israel. In other words, the very existence of Israel as a nation is an ongoing miracle.
These verses also demonstrate that God’s people have a responsibility to participate in God’s plan for them. In this case, Isaac was in the position to “plead” for his wife, which is to say, he interceded for her (and for him). Twenty years is a long time to go without having a baby and especially if you’re the one charged with propagating the covenant given to Abraham. Isaac knew that he was going to have children because of promise to Abraham but it obviously became apparent that he had to take action if he wanted the promised children to come through Rebekah – thus he prayed for her.
God has a plan for us all that He intends to perform but it would seem that, oftentimes, it is incumbent upon us to pray for that plan to take shape. Thus we are told, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (James 5:16). Let’s all be diligent to pray that the Father’s will in our life and in the life of our loved ones comes to pass according to His purpose. Pray as if the promise depends on our desire to see it come to pass.
Blessings and Shalom,