Abraham is a fascinating individual in the Old Testament that is often not given the credit he deserves for laying a framework of how to live a life surrendered to God. Abraham was a man of persistence. He never let his prayer life be superficial and always took it to the next level. In some ways, he pushed God to the limit in prayer. Sometimes he got his way. Sometimes he did not. It did not mean he was perfect, but he continued to turn to the Lord in prayer. Abraham’s prayers were specific and intentional. What if we could pray like Abraham? The good news is that we CAN pray like Abraham. The book of Genesis shows us two examples of who Abraham prayed for and how he prayed.
Abraham prayed for those with whom he does not agree: In Genesis 20 we see where Abraham lies and convinces his wife to lie about who she is because he is fearful. Abimelech becomes angry when God reveals the truth (because God always reveals truth) and confronts Abraham. Abraham prays for Abimelech and God heals Abimelech due to Abraham’s intercession and even grants the ability for Abimelech’s wife and maidservants to have children. Abraham did not allow his relationship, or lack thereof, with Abimelech to prevent him from praying for him.
We all have those people who have hurt us, we disagree with or perhaps on opposite political spectrums, and maybe even those that scare us. We have people in our lives we dislike and those who are perhaps bitter enemies of ours. Let us pray for them as Abraham prayed for Abimelech.
-Pray for God to bless their health
-Pray for God to bless their family
-Pray for God to show mercy on them
It may not be something we want to do. Praying for those who have hurt us or have become some kind of enemy of ours is difficult. It is not meant to be easy but even Jesus prayed for those who were killing him on the cross.
“Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
Abraham prays for a whole nation: One of the greatest prayer lessons we can learn from Abraham, however, is how to pray for our country. Even though Abraham did not reside in Sodom, his prayer certainly reflects how we can all pray for our country as well as other countries.
Abraham did not restrict his prayers to those of his direct circle. Abraham was not living in Sodom, yet, he becomes a powerful intercessor for the judgment God eventually pours forth upon it. It was not, however, a lack of Abraham’s power in prayer that caused Sodom to still be destroyed but it was the evil that resided among those in Sodom. Abraham bargained with God. He begins by asking God “what about those who innocent?”
“Then Abraham drew nearer to him and said: ‘Will you sweep away the innocent with the guilty? Suppose there were fifty innocent people within it? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to make the innocent die with the guilty, so that the innocent and the guilty would be treated alike! Should not the judge of all the world act with justice?” The Lord replied, ‘If I find fifty innocent people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake” (Genesis 18:23-26)
Abraham realizes how sinful Sodom is and reconsiders his request. He does not settle for God finding 50 innocent people, he even goes back to God in prayer and intercedes again. He asks God if he would spare Sodom if there were 45 innocent people found and God agrees. This bargaining back and forth in prayer goes on until Abraham asks the Lord to spare Sodom if only 10 people were found in Sodom to be innocent. The Lord agrees.
Sadly, we all know in Chapter 19 the Lord destroys Sodom. He does not destroy Sodom because he goes against his promise to Abraham. He destroyed Sodom as judgment of the sinfulness and wickedness of Sodom and God could not even find 10 innocent people in the entire city. His prayers, however, were not fruitless because Lot is eventually saved from the destruction of Sodom because of Abraham's prayers. His prayers may not have prevented the wickedness of Sodom from receiving judgment, but they did bring protection for Lot. How can we pray for our city and our country like Abraham prayed for Sodom?
- Pray specifically for those who are serving God
- Pray for specific things: Do not just ask God to “bless this nation” or “be with this city”. Abraham was specific when he prayed and we too should be specific
- Do not make excuses for sin: We never see Abraham excuse Sodom’s sins. We see him intercede for those who are innocent and not partaking of the sin but by his silence we see that Abraham understood God’s need to judge the wickedness of the sin. Acknowledge the sins of the city or country, but pray for mercy.
We can all pray more like Abraham. May we all seek to rise up and be Abrahams in our city, culture, society, and country. It starts with you and