Big-time Praying

OPENING PRAYER

Thank You God that I can meet with You in prayer and You reveal Yourself to me.

 

Read: GENESIS 18:16–33

[16] When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. [17] Then the LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? [18] Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. [19] For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.” [20] Then the LORD said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous [21] that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.” [22] The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the LORD. [23] Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? [24] What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? [25] Far be it from you to do such a thing-to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” [26] The LORD said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.” [27] Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, [28] what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?” “If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.” [29] Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?” He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.” [30] Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?” He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.” [31] Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?” He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.” [32] Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?” He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.” [33] When the LORD had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home. 

 

Reflect: HOW DOES ABRAHAM APPROACH GOD HERE?

In Sodom live Abraham’s nephew Lot and his family. Bad news – it’s Sodom that the Lord sets off to judge (17,20). By wrestling with issues of justice and injustice for all the city dwellers, Abraham pleads with God to spare them (24). Again and again and again (28,29,30). And one more time (31). And then one more (32). That’s bold, persistent praying.

I’m challenged not only about half-heartedness in my prayers. Abraham agonizes in prayer about people’s destinies. Will they experience God’s blessing and live, or his wrath and die? For our nearest and dearest, and for all whose lives hang in the balance between God’s embrace and his exclusion, we cry out repeatedly, agonizingly. Don’t we? Because, in the end, our whole lives and theirs are all about this – the covenant, the plan, the destination.

“Now that we know what we have – Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God – let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all – all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help” (Hebrews 4:14–16, The Message).

 

APPLY

Get on your knees and cry out to God for the eternal destinies of those you love.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Lord, give me the passion and the confidence of Abraham so that I may come to You on behalf of others like that.

 

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Terry Schneider