A Prayer of Intercession

Chapter 10

Theme: A Prayer of Intercession
Focus on: Abraham
Reading Portion(s): Genesis 18 to 19:29.
– Important Background Information
– Helps you find strength in God
What this article teaches you
Many righteous people are perishing in this world because they live in the midst of evil and wicked men. But there are others whom God has blessed to live in rest and peace. It is the responsibility of those who live in peace to pray and intercede for the righteous people trapped in the society and company of wicked men. For often the judgment that falls on the wicked would sweep away the righteous also with it.

The Bible offers us a bold example of intercession from the life of Abraham. He dared to intercede with God to spare the righteous people in a city which God had decided to destroy. Surprisingly God agrees to Abraham’s demands. Though God doesn’t find the number of righteous men specified by Abraham in that city, God spared his nephew Lot because of his prayer. Therefore we should not rest in our blessing but be concerned for the lives of others and intercede for those righteous who live in less fortunate circumstances. Otherwise they will perish along with the wicked!

The Lord had promised Abraham that he will have a son through Sarah. Here we find this promise confirmed by the visit of the Lord to Abraham. Abraham gives the Lord and the heavenly visitors a feast and then sees them on their way. Then the Lord reveals to Abraham His plan to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Even as the other heavenly visitors left, Abraham remained standing before the Lord. He was concerned when he heard that the two cities were going to be destroyed. He knew that the people there were wicked. But He also knew that his nephew Lot and his family lived there. He took his concern about them to the Lord.

Now we see a prayer of intercession that grows in boldness with each passing request of prayer. Abraham said to God that He expected the Judge of all the earth to do right. He, in effect, told God that God alone was worthy to judge the wicked. Yet Abraham was telling God that He should spare these cities if there were at least fifty righteous people in it.

Abraham did not want to stand against God’s plan of destroying the cities. What he tried to do was to stand against God’s wrath falling on the righteous. He was trying to ask God to spare the righteous and to make a distinction between the righteous and the wicked when the destruction came. And God heard his request and agreed to his demand.

Now Abraham is amazed. First he found that God did not rebuke his boldness in making such a request. Then he suddenly realizes that he is only dust and ashes and is again amazed that he was bold enough to have made such a request! And he ventures forth again in his prayer of intercession.

He asks God whether He will spare the city if He finds five less than fifty righteous men. God agrees. Abraham then puts the number of righteous men at 40. Again God agrees. Then Abraham requests God not to be angry at him and still reduces the number to 30. Again God agrees. Abraham is amazed at his growing boldness. He decides to still make a request and puts the number at 20. Then also God agrees. Abraham asks God not to be angry at him before he makes his final request by putting the number of righteous men at 10. God agrees to this last request also by saying that He will not destroy the city if ten righteous men are found in the city.

What made Abraham move step by step in his prayer with increasing boldness? It was nothing but a desperate concern for his nephew Lot and his family that made him do this. At an earlier date when he heard that some kings had defeated Sodom in battle and carried of his nephew Lot and his possessions, he had gone to his rescue. But this time the Lord Himself was against Sodom and even Abraham knew that the righteous men in it are very few indeed! So Abraham knew that he cannot battle it out except battle it out in prayer. And in this battle too he showed that he was a real warrior in prayer!

Again, it is to be noted that Abraham need not have been concerned for his nephew. First of all, it was Lot’s choice to live in that wicked land. Secondly, as of now, God had promised to bless Abraham by giving him a son. This was a staggering promise and his life was going to be a blessing. So Abraham could have ignored what might have happened to Lot. Yet we find Abraham pleading with increasing boldness before the Lord for Lot and his family.

Are we blessed by the Lord? If yes, are we content that we are blessed? Or are we concerned when we hear of increasing wickedness at various places? Do we pray for the righteous who are trapped in the midst of wicked people in riotous and perverse living? It is here that we find Abraham, the father of faith, a different person. He did not think of his blessing and did not choose to rest in it. But he chose to dare to ask God some bold requests! And it saved Lot.

The Bible records that God remembered Abraham when He destroyed the cities of the plains. And because of this only God saved Lot out of the great catastrophe. Many are waiting for us to make such bold intercession. Are we ready to intercede with God in spite of our blessing? On the answer to this question depend the lives and salvation of many!