“So the men turned from there and went towards Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord.”
This begins the last part of Genesis 18, where Abraham intercedes for Sodom. The whole picture is Sodom and Gomorrah and rampant evil in these cities and the judgment of God coming upon them, but this picture in Genesis 18:22 is so strong because Abraham, knowing that God is just and right, which he says later in Verse 25, “Shall not the judge of all the earth do what is just,” he stands in the gap for Sodom and Gomorrah and he intercedes for these cities. He prays for them, he prays for God to not show his judgment. “If there are 50 righteous people, will you sweep them away,” Abraham says, and God says, “No. I won’t.” Abraham presses in even more and says, “Okay, what about 45? Or 40?” Abraham just keeps pressing in, like, “God, please, show your grace and show your mercy in this place.”
Genesis 18 is a powerful picture of the privilege of intercession, how God calls us to stand still before him and to plead on behalf of those who are in need, to pray on behalf of those who may be facing his judgment to come, to intercede for them and pray for God to have mercy. We see this in all kinds of different points through scripture. God has ordained prayer as a means by which he acts, he responds to our praying. We see this all over scripture, and so, I just want to encourage you today, even in my own life, today, to realize in a fresh way the privilege we have of intercession and to pray like it matters. To stand still before God and to pray for people in need, to pray for those who are right now separated from God and under his judgment, for God to show his mercy and save them and to believe that God is going to use our prayers as a means by which he answers and he works and he saves and he moves.
Our prayers are going to affect the action of God. I don’t understand the mystery how this works, and God’s complete and total sovereignty of all things but I do know God doesn’t just ordain ends, he ordains means, and he ordains our prayers to be a means by which his ends are accomplished, so we right now take full advantage of this privilege. God, we want to stand in the gap right now. Stand still before you and pray.
God, I pray for people I’m sharing the gospel with right now, I think about two guys I shared the gospel with yesterday, friends of mine. God I pray, please, please, please show your mercy. Please, as they process through what I shared, please, oh God, please open their eyes to your love for them. Help them to see Jesus. Cause their hearts to believe in Jesus. I pray, oh God, show your mercy God I’m interceding for them right now. God, I trust there are other people that come to others’ minds as we’re praying right now for people who are separated from you right now, people who don’t know your grace and your love and your mercy in Jesus. Lord, all these different names, I trust come to our minds so right now we plead for them, oh God. We plead for their salvation. We plead for your mercy and your grace and your love to be known in their lives. Please bring them to you. We pray for spouses and family members and kids who don’t know you. Please, oh God, please bring them to you. God, we’re interceding for them. We pray for co-workers and neighbors, and people we hang out with in this or that setting. God, we exercise with, we meet in restaurants.
God, please, please, please, show your grace, show your mercy, bring your salvation in their lives. God, help us. Help us to take full advantage of this privilege of intercession, to like Abraham did to stand still before you and ask you to answer, to boldly humbly cry out for you mercy on others’ behalf and we pray that you would use our prayers even right now as a means by which your purposes in salvation are made known. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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