Summary: Abraham’s intercession for Sodom is a classic example of how we should pray. God was willing to spare Sodom for 10 godly people because Abraham interceded.
6 MARKS OF AN INTERCESSOR
By Ng Wah Lok
Text : Gen 18:16-33
In Genesis 18, we see Abraham interceding for Sodom which was due for destruction because of her sins. Because of Abraham’s intercession, God was willing to spare Sodom if Abraham could find 10 righteous people there.
From this passage, I discovered the 6 marks of an intercessor.
1. INTERCESSORS ARE THE FIRST TO GET THE NEWS
Gen 18:17 And God said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing ?”
God did not want to destroy Sodom without letting Abraham know about it first. We find this to be a Biblical pattern. God often informs the people seeking Him what he intends to do.
Ps 25:14 The secrets of the Lord are with those who fear Him.
Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord does nothing unless He reveals the secrets to his servants the prophets.
It is comforting to know that God will reveal His plans or judgements to those seeking Him. This give intercessors a chance to plead for God’s mercy on behalf of the people.
One thing that makes CNN the greatest News Agency on earth is that they are always on the news first. They are ahead of their competitors by being there first. In the same way, I believe intercessors are always one step ahead of others as God reveals His plans to them.
SOME PEOPLE MAKE THINGS HAPPEN. SOME SEE THINGS HAPPEN. OTHERS ARE STILL ASKING “WHAT HAPPENED ?”
2. INTERCESSORS STAND IN THE GAP BEFORE GOD
Gen 18:22b …but Abraham still stood before God.
God is looking for people to stand before Him and intercede for the sins of nation. In Eze 22, we see God specifically looking for intercessors.
Eze 22:30 “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land that I should not destroy it. But I found none”
Eze 22 has a sad ending. God was searching for an intercessor to stand before Him but found none. So God’s judgement was poured out because there was no intercessor. An intercessor has the ability to delay or stop the judgement of God when he stands in the gap.
In my song “Every Time I Pray” written in 1981, I captured this thought with the lyric
“I will come to You in prayer,
I will seek Your face,
I will stand within the gap,
There will I intercede”.
PRAYERS CAN’T BE ANSWERED UNLESS THEY
3. INTERCESSORS CONTINUE TO STAND IN THE GAP EVEN AFTER JUDGEMENT IS PASSED
Gen 18:22 Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord.
The angels were already heading towards Sodom to destroy it. But Abraham still stood before the Lord. He lived in hope that God’s mercy would spare the people. He persevered. Intercessors persevere even after judgement is passed.
Recently, I have met people who were afflicted by cancer. So we mobilized intense prayer fo them to seek God’s healing. I believe if we do not pursue God intensely for healing, how can we expect him to heal a deadly disease like cancer ? We must continue to stand in the gap even in a seemingly hopeless situation.
THERE ARE 4 STEPS TO ACCOMPLISHMENT. PLAN PURPOSEFULLY. PREPARE PRAYERFULLY. PROCEED POSITIVELY AND PURSUE PERSISTENTLY.
4. INTERCESSORS UNDERSTAND GOD’S CHARACTER
If you were an intercessor and wanted God to spare the city, what angle would you approach God from ? Abraham was a smart man. He knew God’s character. God would not destroy the righteous with the wicked
Gen 18:23 Would you also destroy the righteous with the wicked ?”
Gen 18:25 “Shall not the judge of all the earth do right”
Abraham understood that God was a righteous God and will do right. He approached God from this angle.
5. INTERCESSORS UNDERSTAND GOD’S ABOUNDING GRACE
Abraham looks in every way like a good business man. He negotiates for God’s mercy. Below, we see the number of people he must find for God to spare the city.
V24 – 50 people
V28 – 45 people
V29 – 40 people
V30 – 30 people
V31 – 20 people
V32 – 10 people
It looks like God gave him a big discount for the number of righteous people. He got a 99.99999 % discount from God. How many of us will even think of asking God to spare the whole city if there were only 10 people righteous ? But Abraham did and God agreed. HE was a great negotiator because he understood God’s character.
Abraham knew that God was a merciful and gracious God and dared to ask.
6. INTERCESSORS KNOW THE LIMIT OF GOD’S PATIENCE
Gen 18:33 So the Lord went His way as soon as He had finish speaking with Abraham and Abraham returned to his place.