Daily encouragement

Video by

Matt Shaw

ACF Devo Team

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Genesis 18:32

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.”

Behind the Scenes

Hold on to your kiddos and keep your hands and feet inside the car — we’re about to take you on a ride through prayer.

The question we get to wrestle with today is, “Does prayer really work?” If you’re like me, you might struggle with this. I mean, if God is all-knowing and all-powerful, and He’s going to do what He’s going to do anyway, then why pray? My prayers don’t really change things, do they? And honestly, I really had to do some research through the Scriptures and spend some time in prayer about it (ironic, eh?).

In our passage today, we have Abraham negotiating with the LORD. When we refer back a few verses, we see that God has told Abraham that He is about to destroy Sodom. Now Abraham was upset by this because his nephew Lot and his family lived there, and he was concerned for their lives. We see Abraham interceding on behalf of the people of Sodom. Abraham questions God in verse 23, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 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?” In verse 26, God answers, “Okay, if I find fifty righteous, I will spare the whole city” (my paraphrase).

This part I find a little humorous…Abraham must have thought about all the people in Sodom and realized, “There’s no way there are fifty righteous people in that place.” So, the negotiations begin…How about if there are only forty-five? Thirty? Twenty? Finally, Abraham lands on ten. He thinks with his family alone, there just HAS to be at least ten righteous people. We see God’s answer in our verse today, “For the sake of the ten, I will not destroy it.”

I love how brave Abraham was to go to bat for his people. I love how patient God was with Abraham’s negotiations. We see that not only does God answer prayer, but that He welcomes questions. He welcomes our doubts. He welcomes our indignation. He wants us to be in communication with Him and to be honest about what we’re thinking and feeling. Abraham had the audacity to actually question God’s ways and motives, and God simply walked patiently through the process to get Abraham where he needed to be.  In the end, the city of Sodom was destroyed, but not before Lot and his family fled.

Make it Real

This dialog is so encouraging. You see, in order to ask these deep, maybe intrusive, questions, there has to be a relationship there to begin with.  Think about it, if you go out to dinner with close friends, you may not hesitate to ask to try their food or even to finish it if they are finished with it. On the other hand, if you eat out with acquaintances that you are just getting to know, you likely wouldn’t ask to eat their food. That level of asking requires a prior relationship.

The same is true of Abraham. If Abraham didn’t have a prior, close relationship with God, then he likely would not have asked the same questions — if any at all. So, I think that is the first step for us when we go to God in prayer – we must first have a relationship with Him. Because when Jesus says, ask for anything in my name, He means according to His character. In order to ask according to His character, we must first know Him.

Because Abraham knew God, he was able to ask boldly for what he wanted. Because he knew God, he was able to trust God in what He said. Notice how Abraham finally comes to the conclusion, with God leading him gently to the answer, that the city of Sodom had not one righteous person within it. But because of his brave prayers, Abraham was able to save Lot and his family.

The mystery of prayer is just that — a mystery. While we may know God and ask according to His character, we may not see our prayers answered. Praying for a dying child is a righteous prayer in accordance with His character, and yet that child may still die. Does that mean that God doesn’t answer prayers or that we shouldn’t call on His name? Definitely not. God’s ways are not our ways. We don’t have insight to the heavenly realms and the wars that are being waged there.

What we do have is access to the weapons in the heavenly vault accessed through prayer. I love how Tyler Staton puts it in his book, Praying Like Monks Living Like Fools, “Prayer is heaven’s highest security clearance — free access to stroll right into the heavenly vault, gather up whatever we can carry, and hand it out to the world.”

“You’re not Jesus. But if you’re a follower of Jesus, every single time you pray, you come before the Father clothed in the robe and crown of a ruler. In the eyes of heaven, you are filled with Jesus’ status and standing.” Are you sporting your robe and your crown? Are you walking confidently into heaven’s vault and gathering up the weapons stored there and handing them out to those in need around you?

End in Prayer

Father God, help me straighten my crown, don my robe, and flash the security clearance I have in Jesus to Your heavenly vault. Let me walk in selfless determination and boldness in the authority You have granted me. May I pray unceasingly in Your mighty name and with the power and authority You have granted me. In Your name ~ AMEN.

Written by

Colleen McGeorge

ACF Groups Coordinator