Summary: Abrham’s relationship with God demonstrates how importat it is for us to know God well.
PRAY-ERS OF THE BIBLE
Every person can improve their prayer life by including the elements Abraham used when speaking to God.
Driving down a country road, I came to a very narrow bridge. In front of the bridge, a sign was posted: "YIELD." Seeing no oncoming cars, I continued across the bridge and to my destination. On my way back, I came to the same one-lane bridge, now from the other direction. To my surprise, I saw another YIELD sign posted. Curious, I thought, "I’m sure there was one posted on the other side." When I reached the other side of the bridge I looked back. Sure enough, yield signs had been placed at both ends of the bridge. Drivers from both directions were requested to give right of way. It was a reasonable and gracious way of preventing a head-on collision. When the Bible commands Christians to "be subject to one another" (Ephesians 5:21) it is simply a reasonable and gracious command to let the other have the right of way and avoid interpersonal head-on collisions.
Stephen P. Beck.
Much of the time we pray and think of it as our way to getting God to do something for us. Sometimes I believe that through our prayer God is trying to get us to do something or to become something. I want to look at the elements of the prayer of Abraham and learn how we can be submissive to God’s will in our prayers.
Element I. It was personal
A. When I read this section of Scripture I find these men who came to Abraham where a group of travelers. Out of hospitality Abraham makes them a nice dinner and invites them to stay for some time. He was just being a good host. It seems like later in the conversation he realizes that who he is talking with is more than just a group of men. The LORD lets himself be known when he tells of the child Abraham and Sarah are about to have. Abraham now realizes that this is more than a mere man. In v. 3 when Abraham initially addresses the men he says lord with a small “l”. Later his address indicates the realization he is speaking to God.
B. It seems that in many places in the Old Testament, men like Abraham speak to God when God appears to them. I find in my own life there are a lot of times when I am just going through the motions of praying. I have not really gotten to the point of speaking to God. It is more of an exercise than a personal experience. When we see Abraham speaking to God it is a personal experience. He is speaking to a living breathing being. It was personal.
C. If we go back to 18:1 the Lord came to Abraham. In v. 33 he left Abraham. When we have our times of prayer we need to realize it is a personal experience. It is not an exercise where we speak to the walls or to the ceiling. In church or in a group it may be perceived as a performance. Our prayers are not going to be times of performance or exercise, but it is a time of speaking with our Lord. Abraham was able to converse with God like this because he knew God. This personal experience will not happen tomorrow, but it will take time. Realize Abraham was around 100 years old when this took place.
D. We need to work on getting to know God better. And we need to make our prayer times more personal.
Element II. It was conversational
A. I think probably the most common description of prayer is “talking to God”. This is how it is described, but is this the way in which it is practiced? Rather than talking to God it is easy to get caught in a trap of telling God. When we talk to someone we listen to what they have to say, but when we talk to God we just unload what we want Him to hear from us. Much of the time our prayer does not look like a conversation.
B. In the passage we are reading today I see Abraham talking to God and God speaking to Abraham. It is not just a one sided conversation. We can see that Abraham has an agenda he is trying to communicate, but he also takes the time to listen to God and hear what God has to say to him. It is through Abraham’s listening that he is able to learn of the coming destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. There is more to the prayer of Abraham than just telling God. He is also listening to God.