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Intercessory Prayer: A Lesson From Abraham’s Life

Abraham was very special to God—not because he was perfect. His behavior was lacking. He did not perform well in crisis situations consistently, did he? He shoved Sarah out in front for his own safety several times, which was not godly at all! No, he was not perfect. But he was obedient to Gods whisperings. According to I Samuel 15:22, obedience is one of God’s prerequisites: "To obey is better than to sacrifice."

Remember when two angels came and visited with Abraham, had dinner with him, and talked to him about the "blessed event" that was to come to their home within the year? Then, they turned to leave, heading toward Sodom according to their instructions: "We are to go over and check out Sodom to see if all that we have heard is true."

God debated with Himself at that point: "Should I tell Abraham what Im going to do about Sodom? Yes, I believe I should. After all, he is a choice servant . . . a chosen instrument of mine." So He shared His plans with Abraham: The sins of Sodom have come up to my nostrils and I am going to see if everything I have heard is true. If it is, I am going to destroy the city! (Genesis 18:16-33)

Who was living in the city of Sodom? Lot, Abraham’s nephew. Why didn’t God inform Lot about His plans? Lot was far from the Lord. He probably wouldn’t have listened. He wasn’t interested in "God things." But Abraham loved Lot. He interceded for Lot. "Suppose You find fifty godly people there in the city -will You spare it for their sakes?" God agreed. Abraham kept on until he was down to ten godly people and again, God complied with Abrahams’ plea. Lot and his family were spared because of Abraham’s intercession.

Lot was completely unaware of the imminent danger. He was quite content in Sodom–a prominent citizen who sat in the gate and welcomed visitors. He probably conducted citywide tours and was on the "Welcome Wagon" committee! It seems he was totally oblivious of his spiritual condition. He didn’t come to his Uncle Abraham and say, "Please pray for me. I am far, far from God and so is my family. I am so unhappy, Abraham. We are living in a sinful city." Even after he was warned of the impending disaster and went to his daughter’s fiances and told them to leave quickly, they thought he was teasing. He had not established a spiritual rapport with his family. Poor Lot. As someone has said, "He led his family into Sodom, but he could not lead them out."

Maybe you have someone on your prayer list like Lot–totally oblivious of their spiritual condition. Well, this short note gives us hope, doesn’t it? Hope in God. That doesn’t mean it will turn out like we want it to turn out. It does mean that God is involved and working in that person’s life. He knew every facet of what was going on at Sodom and He is aware of every facet of your loved one’s life. But that person who is breaking our heart has a free will and may say, "I am not interested," That isn’t pointing a finger at God and saying, "Why didn’t You do something?" No. It is knowing that His love encompasses all people, but all people have the choice of accepting or rejecting His love.

So what am I to do? Stay very close to God. Talk to Him. Spend time with Him. Tell Him the desperate longings that I have. He loves. He listens. He catches every tear. He hears every sigh. (Ps. 56:8) Our hope as we intercede is in Him, remembering that He allows those for whom we are interceding the freedom to choose. We wouldn’t want it any other way.

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.