Praying Like Abraham
I have been studying Genesis and learned that the first example of intercessory prayer is in chapter 18. And what an example when Abraham intercedes on behalf of Lot and Sodom and Gomorrah. I see valuable lessons here for us as we pray on behalf of our campuses. As we take time off over the holidays, perhaps you could spend a little time in this passage and see what God teaches you afresh for prayer for the second semester.
Here are some lessons learned:*
- God initiates our desire to pray–including for the campus. (Gen. 18: 17-19)
- He invites us to partner with him as we pray for the just and the unjust–even on campus.
- The cries of the evils on campus are heard by God. He will “investigate” the situation before he acts, proving that his actions are just and not capricious. (Gen. 18: 20-21) Should God decide to bring any judgment for those evils, “Divine judgment is always according to truth.” “Abraham…abhorred the wickedness…and yet he prayed earnestly for them.”
- We, like Abraham, need to draw near to God, in intimate conversation for our students, professors, administrators, staff and the issues facing the campus. (Gen. 18: 23)
- We, like Abraham, need to pray from a place of utter humility but complete boldness because of our relationship and right standing with God. (Gen. 18: 24-32)
- We, like Abraham, need not be afraid to petition God passionately, compassionately, and with concern for both the saved and unsaved on the campus. Remember this especially as we pray the salvation verse from Acts. (Gen. 18:24-32)
- We, like Abraham, should intercede based on the knowledge we have of God’s character. (Gen. 18:25)
- We need not delay in the urgency of the matters at hand on the campus because while the will of God will never be thwarted, our prayers can defer judgment and speed up blessing. God’s mercy is real and good people are a blessing to an evil place.
- We pray until God releases us from prayer, whatever the reason. He either restrains us from asking any further, or we know what we have prayed is in accordance with his will and we can leave it at that. “… Abraham was not asking God to do something for him; it was God who prayed in Abraham and set the limits of the conversation.”
- We can trust that God never wearies of hearing our prayers of faith. “God did not go away till Abraham had said all he had to say…”
* My insights are gleaned from personal study, the notes in the Community Bible Study on Genesis, and several well-respected commentaries including Matthew Henry’s, Ray Stedman’s, and study notes in my Bible. Ray Stedman; https://www.raystedman.org/old-testament/genesis/how-prayer-works Matthew Henry; https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/matthew-henry/Gen.18.23-Gen.18.33
Fellow prayer warriors, as we pray in obedience for the campus and thank God for what He is doing, whether we see the circumstances change or not (or not right away), we will experience the peace of God that passes all understanding and keeps our hearts and minds through all those circumstances. (Phil. 4:6-7)
Merry Christmas! See you next year!
Dec. 1-7: Religious Studies departments; professors teach all material for exams at end of semester; students to be disciplined in year-end course completion and use proper outlets for stress relief; Every Campus prayer walk countdown to be completed.
Dec. 8-14: Sociology departments; campus ministers, counselors, profs, and students be alert to mental health needs of struggling students during exams; for Christian students and professors to share the true meaning of Christmas with others.
Dec. 15-21: All Administrative departments; records department as they wrap up reporting for Dec. grads, etc.; safe travels, rest, family interactions, and more over break; Every Campus prayer initiative to be completed and gospel centered ministries to result on every campus in America.
Dec. 22-31: Merry Christmas!