Intercessory Prayer
Genesis 18:22-33
And the men turned their faces from there, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.…

I. THIS IS THE ENERGETIC ENERGIZING (LITERAL FOR "EFFECTUAL") PRAYER OF THE RIGHTEOUS (CHRISTIAN) MAN. In ingenuity, in a kind of dialectic skill where logic is spiritualized by devotion, and reasons step by step, it is the mate and type of the cry of the woman out of the coasts of Canaan, "That be far from Thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked;" and then, carrying the moral argument deeper yet, "and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from Thee." How well this clear-sighted man knew, how much better than some of us "advanced" nineteenth-century Christians know, what kind of a God God is! How vivid the figures! How real the action! How intense the personality! "Anthropomorphism"? Very well: why not? The yearning, aching heart of a mother, of a loving friend, of a true patriot, of a shepherd-king whose descendants, herds and flock lie asleep around him in the pastures every night while he leans on his staff and talks with the Almighty, is not to be frightened by ultra-spiritualism with a Greek polysyllable. The first chapter of St. John ought to exorcise that phantom. What is "the Word made flesh" but anthropomorphism — God in man's form? What faith foresaw and prophecy foretold, the incarnation has made a fact; and thereby prayer becomes what otherwise it could never be — one part in a dialogue, one voice in an antiphon, a conversation between earth and heaven.

II. A CHIEF BLESSEDNESS OF INTERCESSORY PRAYER IS THAT WE CAN USE IT FOR THOSE WHOM WE LOVE AND CARE FOR WHEN WE CAN SERVE THEM IN NO OTHER WAY. Their distance, their very nearness, their unbelief, their pride, their dignity, their resentments, their desperation, may render our other helps — helps of the hand. or tongue, of counsel or cheer or warning — of the most delicate generality or the friendliest sympathy, impossible or futile. We stand by the sufferer, the blind wanderer, the ungrateful child, the hardened sinner, in speechless agony and dismay. The patriarch doubtless felt that to go down into Sodom and preach against sodomy would be waste, or worse. But there is one gracious benefaction which no possible hindrance can stay; one gracious office which cannot lose its grace by opposition, or apathy, or rejection, or scorn; one heavenly charity which we can bestow at our own free will, everywhere, under all outward conditions, in spite of any infirmity or rebuff or discouragement, in health or sickness, by ejaculation or continued entreaty, as long as we live.


(Bishop F. D. Hutington.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.

WEB: The men turned from there, and went toward Sodom, but Abraham stood yet before Yahweh.

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