Prayer is defined as “a spiritual communion with God,” and to “converse with God; the intercourse of the soul with God, not in contemplation or meditation, but in direct address to him” (Dictionary.com, Easton’s Bible Dictionary). I have always read the portion of Scripture below as a part of a story; but as I began to look at it through a new lens, I see it as prayer, pure and simple.
- What thoughts or words come to mind when you think of prayer?
- What events or situations have caused you to plead with God on behalf of someone else?
READ THE WORD: GENESIS 18:22-33 (ESV)
22 So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord. 23 Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” 26 And the Lord said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
27 Abraham answered and said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. 28 Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And he said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” 29 Again he spoke to him and said, “Suppose forty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of forty I will not do it.”30 Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there.” He answered, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.” 31 He said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.” 32 Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” 33 And the Lord went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- Before Abraham spoke, he did something significant. In verse 23, what did Abraham do prior to speaking to God?
- How many times did Abraham make requests of God? How did he preface his requests, virtually every time?
- What was Abraham’s attitude as he talked with God? What was God’s attitude toward Abraham and his requests?
- Which of God’s attributes are identified in Abraham’s questions?
- What is one thing you can do today to draw near to God? What incorrect or partial understanding of God’s character do you have that may need to change as you come to him in prayer?
RESPOND TO GOD
This scripture gives an excellent example of prayer. Abraham “drew near” to God. He made his requests out of humility, recognizing what an amazing miracle it is that the God of the universe desires to be in intimate conversation with his creation. Abraham was not asking for anything that would benefit himself. His requests were out of compassion for others. He did not demand that God act in any certain way, he only asked God to act in accordance with his own mercy, omniscience, and compassion.
- Thank God that he desires for you to draw near to him and that he desires to be in intimate conversation with you.
- Think of 3-5 people who are in need of God’s grace and ask God to be merciful to them.