Summary: Pray, Christian, Pray! 1) Humbly; 2) Unselfishly; 3) Boldly
What’s one of the first things you learned how to do as a baby? Besides the things that come naturally like eating, burping, and crying one of the first things you learned to do was roll over on your side. Once you perfected that technique you learned to lift yourself up on your hands and feet, then crawl, and then walk. Now that you’re a master at walking it has probably been some time since you rolled around on the floor as you did when you were a baby.
What’s one of the first things you learned how to do as a Christian? Wasn’t it to learn how to pray? Sure it is and rightly so since God wants this communication with us right from the start. Although praying is one of the first things we learned how to do, it remains an important part of the Christian life no matter how old we become. Jesus himself demonstrated prayer’s importance by the time and effort he took to withdraw from the crowds so he could be alone to pray. Would you say that you demonstrate prayer’s importance in your life as Jesus did? Do you make prayer a priority, or is it often an afterthought or a crutch for tough times? Through our text this morning the Holy Spirit will not only encourage us to pray but remind us how to pray. We’ll use this thought as our theme: Pray, Christian, Pray! 1) Humbly; 2) Unselfishly; 3) Boldly.
Our sermon text is a continuation of the text from last week. Last Sunday we heard how the LORD came down with two of his angels disguised as travelers and dropped in on Abraham and Sarah. God stopped by to strengthen Sarah’s faith in the promise that she would have a son in her old age. Once the visit was finished God and his two angels got up and started making their way to the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah. You see this was the other purpose for which God had come down to earth. God said to Abraham, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21 that 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”(Genesis 18:20, 21).
Of course God didn’t actually need to go down to these cities to check out what was going on. Since God is everywhere and knows all things he was well aware of what the people of Sodom and Gomorrah were up to. But by telling Abraham that he had come to investigate God reminds us that he does not act without first having gathered all the information.
Just what exactly was going on in Sodom and Gomorrah that prompted God to investigate? The answer is sin. The people of these two cities were acting in a way that was not in line with God’s word. What were they doing that so disturbed God? While we could easily point out some specific sins the people of Sodom and Gomorrah were guilty of we should stress that it wasn’t so much the kind of sins that was so disturbing as it was their attitude towards sin. The citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah didn’t care that what they did was wrong. Such an attitude is called impenitence and can often be found in our lives as well. You see it doesn’t matter whether you kill ten people, or sass your parents both are detestable in God’s eyes and if we don’t repent of either sin we would deserve to meet the same end that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah did.
Isn’t it interesting that God shared his plans with Abraham? That reminds us that we Christians are not inferior. We have an in with God as he shares his plans with us. From the Bible we Christians know that what is going to happen to the world in the end and what we can expect after death. These are topics that those who don’t read the Bible can only guess at.
Having found out that God was planning on destroying Sodom and Gomorrah Abraham began to intercede on behalf of the inhabitants of those cities. Abraham of course knew that his nephew, Lot, lived in Sodom and he did not want him or his family wiped away with the wicked. Let’s see what we can learn about prayer from Abraham’s petitions to God.
The first thing we learn is that although God had just let Abraham in on a secret Abraham didn’t get cocky and think that he could tell God his business. Instead he approached God in humility. Abraham said, “I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes”(Genesis 18:27). Abraham based his requests on mercy, not merit. He knew that the same sinful heart that beat in people of Sodom and Gomorrah beat in his own chest. He recognized that it was only by God’s grace and patience that he had not been destroyed for the many times that he had failed to obey God and trust his promises.