It’s another middle-of-the-week post and the last one for April!
It looks like May is shaping up to be a full month around here. We’ll be happy to have our daughters home from college in a couple of weeks. There’s also a friend’s wedding and a few graduations, so lots of celebrating ahead!
A few days ago I became burdened about praying for someone I love. Have you ever had that feeling? Maybe it’s a spouse, a child, a relative, or a friend. It could be that you know they need Jesus as their Savior. Perhaps they’re experiencing a health crisis or a financial problem. Or you might recognize that a person you love is facing a spiritual battle and you want to cover them in prayer.
As I was thinking about this the other night, I was reminded of a story about Abraham. Near the end of Genesis 18, after spending time with Abraham and Sarah, the Lord tells Abraham his plan to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their wickedness. You’ll remember that Abraham’s nephew, Lot, and his family live in that area.
Then there’s a back-and-forth conversation where Abraham asks God to spare the city if there’s a certain number of righteous people in it. Abraham continues to lower the number of righteous required, and God continues to agree to spare the city if He finds that many righteous people.
There’s a lot we can learn from this exchange. As Abraham pleads with God on Lot’s behalf, let’s look at five things we can apply as we pray for someone we love.
1. His prayer was specific.
Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? ~Genesis 18:24
Abraham didn’t just offer a general prayer for the city to be spared. He listed specific numbers in his request to God.
Let’s be specific as we pray. What exactly is it that we want God to do in this person’s life? It helps to base our prayer on God’s Word so we’ll know for certain that we’re praying in His will.
For example, if we’re praying for someone who’s fighting temptation, pray that they will put on the whole armor of God from Ephesians 6:10-18. You could even pray through each particular piece as you pray for your loved one.
2. He appealed to God’s character.
And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? ~Genesis 18:23-25
Abraham knew God so he was able to speak to His character. He knew that God was just and always did what was right.
We can do the same as we pray. Appeal to His mercy. Ask for His grace. Our God is compassionate, loving, and longsuffering. We can rest in those traits as we bring our requests to Him.
3. He was humble.
And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: ~Genesis 18:27
His attitude wasn’t, “God, you owe me.” No, he recognized who he was and who God was.
We can approach God boldly yet still have an attitude of reverence and humility. It’s only because of His grace that we’re able to come into His presence and have Him hear our prayers.
4. He was persistent.
And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake. ~Genesis 18:32
This was the sixth time Abraham asked God to answer his specific request. And not once did God tell him to stop asking.
Don’t give up. Remember the New Testament admonition to pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
5. He left it in the Lord’s hands.
And the Lord went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place. ~Genesis 18:33
Abraham didn’t try to follow the Lord to see what was going to happen. Once he’d finished talking to God, he returned home and went about his usual business.
Too often I’ll pray about something, but rather than leaving it in the Lord’s hands, I’ll continue to worry or fret over it. When that happens, I try to remind myself of Philippians 4:6, 7.
Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
I find encouragement as I read how Jesus prayed for Peter in Luke 22:31-32.
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
Let’s take our requests for our loved ones to God in prayer and trust Him to work in their lives for His glory.
- 10 Things to Pray for When You’re Seeking God’s Guidance
- 6 Steps for How to Pray When We’re Anxious or Afraid
- 7 Important Things to Remember as We Pray for Our Teenagers