On Camelback Mountain this morning I sat and prayed over my kid’s schools. It is not something that I normally do but the schools are easily seen and I wanted to pray a bit before hiking down. I have been thinking about interceding with the Lord lately. Especially in light of my friend, Resa, who was at death’s door 2 weeks ago and who is making a recovery, albeit a slow one.
My wife and I had lunch together today and she reminded me of the story about Abraham in Genesis 18. If you have read it before you may remember the hospitality of Abraham as he entertains the Lord and 2 angels before they go to Sodom and Gomorrah to see if the outcry against these cities is warranted.
Based on this passage, Intercession works like this:
- The Lord revealed to Abraham what He was about to do (Genesis 18:17).
- Abraham remained before the Lord (Genesis 18:22).
- Abraham asked the Lord to not do what the Lord was planning to do (Genesis 18:23).
- The Lord said if there were 50 righteous people in Sodom he would not destroy it (Genesis 18:26).
- Abraham petitions the Lord asking Him not to destroy Sodom if there can be found (here is where Abraham and the Lord go back and forth and Abraham keeps arguing for fewer and fewer righteous people) 45, 40, 30, 20 and finally, 10 righteous people in the entire city (Genesis 18:25-32). The angels can only find 4 (Lot, his wife and 2 daughters) that are righteous in these cities. The angels aid Lot and his family in their escape and then the towns, their inhabitants and every living thing in them are destroyed.
Even though the Lord knew in advance that there were fewer then 10 righteous he revealed to Abraham His plan. One might surmise (and some commentators say) that Abraham’s intercession for his kinsman, Lot, aided in Lot’s escape. Abraham was chosen to have a special role (Genesis 12:1-3 where we learn that Abraham is going to be the father of a great nation). But the fact that Abraham was brought into the Lord’s counsel was not solely based on his special role because the Lord continues to reveal Himself unto us, even us.
Do we sometimes hear the voice of the Lord when we intercede for others? And, if we do, can we change the Lord’s mind?