How can we make our prayers of intercession more effective? Abraham’s intercession for Lot in Genesis 18 provides much insight into how our prayers can reach God.
Abraham is known to have had a deep relationship with God. The key to their close relationship was Abraham’s faith: “‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ And he was called the friend of God” (Jas 2:23). Years before this incident, when Abraham was in his own home country, God called him and told him to leave his people and his home. He was to journey to a place God would show him, and God would make him into a great nation with many descendants. Although Abraham had no proof or evidence of this, he believed and went to the land of Canaan. Therefore, the Scriptures often describe him as a friend of God, because of his great faith. Likewise, we must have faith in God: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb 11:6).
Effective intercession must also proceed from love, deep empathy, and compassion for those for whom we are praying. Abraham’s intercession for Lot was timely and immediate because he loved him. When we pray for others, let us place ourselves in their shoes, interceding for them as we would pray for ourselves in the same situation. Jesus tells us that the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbors as ourselves. One of the easiest ways to do that is through prayer. Moreover, the fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. When our hearts and minds are just in God’s eyes, our prayers will be effective. They won’t be a waste of time; the efforts we put in prayer will reach God.
Abraham’s humility and deference towards God shows that he understood his place. “Indeed now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord” (Gen 18:27). He knew he was not worthy to bring this request to God, but he asked God to consider his request with complete humility. He appealed to God’s righteousness, love, and mercy. God Almighty is high above, but He is willing to stoop down to listen to our prayers!
Keep interceding until God’s promises are fulfilled. When we pray persistently out of love for others, it really touches God’s heart, for “greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (Jn 15:13).