Abraham, Sarah, & Isaac • Devotion #6: Abraham Intercedes for Sodom
Kenny Hovis | Prison Ministry Director
In the past four years, I have been on all but one prison trip that we have scheduled with the prison ministry. Most of the trips I went as a volunteer, the rest while I have been on staff. I have a passion for going on these trips to share the Gospel with the people who are behind bars and are desperately in need of someone to show them Christ-like love. This whole process has made me more effective sharing my faith at home as well. It has given me the opportunity to pray with and for many people, which I consider an honor.
One of the interesting dynamics of going into the prisons is when we have an opportunity to pray with the inmates. They may want you to pray for family, a case they have coming up, their own safety and health, and in some cases, you get the distinct privilege of showing them how to throw their lives to God. I often ask the person if it is something they have been praying for themselves and almost every time they say “yes!” This is the perfect opportunity for me to segue to the Gospel. In the second part of James 5:16 it says, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” I always ask them if they think God hears their prayers.
We see an example of this in Genesis 18:22-33. Abraham is praying for the righteous people that may be left in Sodom as God is going to destroy the city because of its wickedness. He is asking God to spare the city if He can find 45 righteous people, then continuing to ask five more times all the way down to if He can find ten righteous people. Abraham finds favor with God as he petitions on behalf of the supposed righteous, each time lowering the standard for when He will bring judgment on the people of Sodom. He hears the righteous man, and He puts value to Abraham’s cries for mercy.
We give God reason to listen to our prayers when we are following in His will. He is thrilled when our lives are surrendered to His leading and guiding. I go back to the example of speaking with the inmates. After I ask them if they think God hears their prayers, then generally say yes. I then ask them how their relationship is with their Heavenly Father. If they are not living a life that is pleasing to God, in His will, they do not give God opportunity to hear their prayer. It is like when we were children, and we did not do what our Dad wanted us to do. When we were disobedient, our father surely did not say, “Thanks for not doing what you were supposed to do. Here is your allowance and some money for ice cream!” That logic does not carry forward into our relationship with our Heavenly Father. We want Him to bless us, hear us, and do as we ask even though we do not perform the act He wants most from us, obedience.
Let us pursue a holy, righteous life, full of obedience. Much like the example of Abraham, when God finds us righteous, He is pleased with us, and it gives Him reason to listen to our petitions. He hears even the utterances and concerns that we cannot put into words!