Confidence in Prayer

Scripture Reading — Genesis 18:20-33

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. — 1 John 5:14-15

“If God does not change, what is the use of praying?” We often hear this question from nonbelievers—and sometimes from Christians too. Without going into a heavy theological discussion, we can learn something about prayer from today’s reading in Genesis 18.

Abraham, appealing to God out of trust in him and with compassion for others, asks, “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? . . . Far be it from you to do such a thing. . . . Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” And, of course, the Lord says, “If I find [so many] righteous people . . . I will spare the whole place for their sake.” Further, God later shows he is faithful to his promises by giving Abraham’s nephew Lot and his family the opportunity to escape.

As he approached God with his questions, Abraham knew that God loves his people, in his anger at their wickedness. God is slow to act in anger, even when we deserve it. In the dialogue between Abraham and God, we can see that Abraham had confidence and trust in God, and that God was willing to listen and respond to all of Abraham’s questions.

John notes that if we pray in line with God’s will, we can trust that he hears and will respond accordingly. And, like Abraham, we will understand more and more of God’s will through dialogue with him.

Prayer

Lord, guide us to trust in you, even if we have tough questions, and to pray according to your will. Amen.