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Summary: PENTECOST 10(C) - Believers learn that persistent prayers prosper as Abraham pleads and pleads and the Lord hears and listens.

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PERSISTENT PRAYER PROSPERS

GENESIS 18:20—32 AUGUST 17, 2003

DEUTERONOMY 18:20-32

20Then the LORD said, "The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know."

22The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the LORD. 23Then Abraham approached him and said: "Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? 25Far be it from you to do such a thing--to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?"

26The LORD said, "If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake."

27Then Abraham spoke up again: "Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, 28what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city because of five people?"

"If I find forty-five there," he said, "I will not destroy it."

29Once again he spoke to him, "What if only forty are found there?"

He said, "For the sake of forty, I will not do it."

30Then he said, "May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?"

He answered, "I will not do it if I find thirty there."

31Abraham said, "Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?"

He said, "For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it."

32Then he said, "May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?"

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Dearest Fellow-Redeemed:

What word did you think of when you listened to our text this morning? We might think of persistence. Abraham did not give up did he? He kept asking the Lord to do what he wanted to be done. That is the point of our text this morning – which the Lord teaches us about persistent prayer; the Lord teaches us about not giving up and He tells us why – because He’s ready to hear and listen.

From James we read that it is the believer and the believer alone who can come before the Lord in persistent prayer. That’s one of the blessings you and I have been given. As be-lievers who have been called out of darkness into His light, not only are saved eternally but are also given the ability to speak with our Lord and Creator. "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. (Only believers can do that – then he tells us why.) The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective"(JAMES 5:16). We heard that term ‘righteous’ in our text – it refers to believers. The prayer of a righteous man is a ‘believing’ man. It’s the same here. ‘Persistence’ – our text tells us

PERSISTENT PRAYER PROSPERS

I. Abraham pleads and pleads

II. The Lord hears and listens

I. Abraham pleads and pleads

We know the setting of our text. The Lord and His angels had come to Abraham and Sarah to tell them great news. Last week we heard how the Lord had announced to Abraham and Sarah that they would have a son within a year. This was great news first of all because it was a blessing from God! It was great news also because Abraham and Sarah were beyond the age of childbearing and now the Lord says they would enjoy this great blessing. The Lord and His messengers leave; Abraham walks along with them as a sign of his hospitality. As they walk away, the Lord decides to tell him another reason that He is there – that He is going down to Sodom and Gomorrah. The Lord tells Abraham that news because He knows Abraham is a righteous man, a faithful man. The Lord knows that Abraham, in his heart, cares for all men. We’re told, 22The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the LORD. We picture the men (the angels) going on to Sodom. Abraham and the Lord are by themselves – going to speak to one another in private. It’s just like prayer isn’t it? Abra-ham is speaking to the Lord directly just like any believer today can still do.

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