Prayer – Day 1
Prayer for mercy
- Genesis 18:28-32
But perhaps there will be only 45 innocent people instead of fifty. Will you destroy the whole city because there are five too few?” The LORD answered, “I will not destroy the city if I find 45 innocent people.” Abraham spoke again: “Perhaps there will be only forty.” He replied, “I will not destroy it if there are forty.” Abraham said, “Please don't be angry, Lord, but I must speak again. What if there are only thirty?” He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty.” Abraham said, “Please forgive my boldness in continuing to speak to you, Lord. Suppose that only twenty are found?” He said, “I will not destroy the city if I find twenty.” Abraham said, “Please don't be angry, Lord, and I will speak just once more. What if only ten are found?” He said, “I will not destroy it if there are ten.”
- Genesis 19:29
But when God destroyed the cities of the valley where Lot was living, he kept Abraham in mind and allowed Lot to escape to safety.
On the theme of prayer in the Bible: What would man have been without prayer? Nothing more than a mindless animal driven by his own instincts. But mankind is different: God spoke to him, and he responded. So, let’s pray.
The prayer of Abraham stands as one of the most daring prayers in the Bible. It is seen as the first formal prayer in the Bible and the first known negotiation with God for the sparing of the lives of the righteous on record. Abraham not only challenges God but is also a masterful negotiator in prayer. From this prayer we learn what compassion we should feel for sinners, and how earnestly we should pray for them.
Even more amazing was that it was God himself who invited Abraham to the negotiating table asking: “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing”? (Genesis 18:17). But what made God suppose Abraham would care about this well-deserved judgment ready to fall? Well, for one thing, Abraham’s nephew Lot lived in one of the cities, but he never mentioned that to the Lord. Instead, out of compassion he cried out on behalf of any, if any, righteous inhabitants who might die along with the wicked.
Abraham’s negotiation for the lives of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah certainly qualifies as one of the great prayers of the Bible. And what makes it truly memorable is the back and forth between God and Abraham. From this we see that the prayer of a righteous man carries much weight.
Many centuries later there would be another great negotiation for the soul of mankind: Jesus offering to pledge his own life for the salvation of many.