Q: #307. I have heard some people praying for God to "give them favor" with someone. Is this in the Bible?
A: Yes, there are examples of people praying for favor with others, and also of God giving certain people favor. In (Neh 1:11), we can see Nehemiah praying to God, and asking for favor with King Artaxerxes so that he might return to Judah and rebuild it (also see: Neh 2:4,8). Solomon prayed for God to: “give them (Israel) compassion (favor) before them who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them” (1 Kin 8:50).
God gave Israel favor with the Egyptians during the exodus from Egypt (Ex 3:21)(Ex 11:3)(Ex 12:36). He gave Joseph favor with Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s guard (Gen 39:2-4), with Pharaoh (Acts 7:10), and with the prison warden (Gen 39:21). He gave Daniel “favor and compassion” with the commander of the officials (Dan 1:9).
*** The Hebrew word “chen” is used for the word “grace” in all but one instance in the Old Testament. “Chen” can also mean “favor.” “Grace” and “favor” are used interchangeably in a number of OT verses, especially in the KJV (i.e. Gen 39:2-4 = “grace” and Gen 39:21 = “favor”).
Given these examples, it is perfectly acceptable to ask for God to “give us favor” with certain people in certain situations. We can ask for favor with: our boss, co-workers, teachers, friends, enemies, people seeking to do us harm, people who we need forgiveness from, people who might hire us, etc…
I should also add that the Bible says several times that we should seek the “favor” of God (Ps 119:58)(Prov 3:1-4)(Prov 8:35)(Prov 12:2).
Moses (Ex 34:9)(Num 11:11,15), Gideon (Judg 6:17), and David (2 Sam 15:25) sought God’s favor.
Numerous people are said to have “found favor” with God:
David (Ps 30:5-7)(Ps 41:11)(Acts 7:46), Job (Job 10:12), Israel (Ps 89:17)(Ps 90:17)(Ps 106:4), Samuel (1 Sam 2:26), Noah (Gen 6:8), Mary (Lk 1:28,30), Moses (Ex 33:12-13,16-17), and Jesus (Lk 2:52).
God’s favor can also be lost (Isa 27:11)(Jer 16:13).
A key closing verse to remember:
(Prov 3:34) But He (God) gives grace (favor) to the humble.