Being visited by God Himself was nothing out of the ordinary for Abraham. So when he saw the three men standing near the trees, Abraham jumped up to greet them. I wonder what that was like. I wonder what talking with Jesus face to face, having dinner with him, seeing him in the flesh was like. Amazing.
Did Abraham change God’s mind? What lesson can we learn from Abraham’s bold pleas on behalf of the believers in Sodom?
The answer to the first question is no. Our prayers don’t change God’s mind. He is not that fickle. What Abraham’s pleas taught me today is that it’s ok to go to God boldly and repeatedly with what’s on our hearts. There is no limit to the number of requests we are allowed.
God answers prayer. But he also knows the end from the beginning.
I have a young friend who underwent open-heart surgery yesterday. I prayed for him, for surgeons and nurses, and for his wife and family. The young man came through surgery well. Was that because I prayed? Would he have died under the knife had I not prayed? Did God intend to take him home until he heard my prayers on his behalf, then decide to spare him?
God knew thousands of years ago that I and others would pray for our friend yesterday. Before my friend was born God knew he would have heart problems, surgery, that people would pray, and he would get through the surgery. Had we not prayed would God have known another outcome? I won’t know this side of heaven.
But I’m not willing to take that chance.
Yes, God knows the outcome of every prayer we pray. And he knows what happens when we don’t pray. Sometimes we get exactly what we request. Other times we don’t. But God wants us to come boldly, to put our desires into words, to lay our requests at his feet. Abraham learned from his encounter with the Lord that day that he need not be afraid to beg God with what’s on his heart.
I want my life story to unfold bathed in prayer. Abraham pleaded with God. Let that be our example today.