The Reality of Faithful Prayer...

 The account of Abram in Gen chapter 18 and 19 are a real challenge to me! Abram was called by God to leave his home in Haran to go to a land he was not familiar with. So he took his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot, who was more like a son to Abram than a nephew. God had not yet blessed Abram with a son yet and Lot's father (Abram's youngest brother) had died while Lot was still young. Over time, after Abram and his family had moved into the unknown land and as the wealth of Abram and Lot grew, Lot's and Abram's servants began to fight for lack of space. Even though Abram hated the thought of separating from someone he loved so dearly, he knew that his options were few. So he suggested that Lot take his pick. Lot chose the well-watered plains near to the city of Sodom even though the people of the city were extremely wicked and sinned constantly before the Lord. And then one day a bearer of heart-rending news entered Abram's camp and informed Abram that Lot and all that he had was captured in battle. So Abram, out of the immense love in his heart for Lot and the responsibility he felt towards Lot, placed his life on the line and rescued Lot and his family during the night. But Lot returned to his home near Sodom.

Another day, while Abraham was resting during the hottest part of the day, he looked up to notice 3 visitors (bearers of more news) who had happened by. Forgetting his own personal agenda and realizing his duty toward these guests of his, he put himself out by washing their feet, causing them to sit in the shade, and butchering a tender calf to roast and serve. As the time came for Abraham to see them off, the Lord, one of the men present, said, "Should I hide my plans from Abraham? I have heard the outcry of Sodom and am on my way to see if it is as wicked as it seems to be." The 2 angels with the Lord went on towards Sodom while the Lord remained behind with Abraham. As the reality of what the Lord began to reveal to Abraham, hit him, he began to desperately intercede to the Lord for Lot.

"Lord, will you really sweep the righteous away with the wicked? What if there are 50, 45, 40, 30, 20, 10 righteous individuals in the city... will you still destroy the city? Please don't be angry at my request."

The Lord replied, "Even if there are only 10 righteous, I will not destroy the city." However, as we know, the Lord did not find those 10 righteous, and the city was destroyed.

In the meanwhile, the 2 angels were visiting with Lot and warning him of the wrath to come. They stayed the night with Lot, and the next morning, while Lot hesitated, these 2 angels grabbed Lot and his family by their hands and forced them to leave, "the Lord being merciful unto him."

It wasn't until the sun had risen and Lot was safely entered into Zoar that the Lord poured out the awful fire and brimstone upon the corrupt cities. Abraham got up very early and went to stand in the same place he interceded for Lot. What Abraham saw more than likely brought tears to his eyes, for he saw only columns of smoke where the cities once stood. 

Now, we know the rest of Abraham's story and the remainder of Lot's, as much as the Lord has revealed to us in the Scriptures. (Read Genesis 18,19) The Bible tells us that the Lord rescued Lot from the disaster because of Abraham's intercession. But the Bible does not tell us that Abraham knew the Lord's answer to his prayer. And the Bible does not tell us that Abraham and Lot met after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Did Abraham think that Lot was also destroyed?

Luke 18:1c Men ought always to pray, and not to faint. Many times we travail in prayer on behalf of our family and friends, the condemned world around us, even for our own selves and our forevermore weaknesses. Sometimes we feel like we get through; other times we feel like our prayers don’t even make it to the ceiling. But take note that I said “feel.” In prayer, faith and facts must come before feelings. And many times we never know how God answered or will answer. But we commit all into His hands and continue to pray for whatever the Holy Spirit leads us into prayer for, because we know from Romans 8:26-28 (NLT) that “the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” May God be praised!

Brian Horst

a church brother..