We live in a wicked world. Being surrounded by such wickedness is often exhausting and we struggle to know how to react (cf. 1 John 5:19). Sometimes we cry out like Habakkuk, asking God how long He will allow such sinfulness to go on (Hab. 1). Sometimes we search for answers like Asaph, trying to make sense of the battle between good and evil (Ps. 78). There are any number of understandable reactions to the wickedness of this world, but have you considered approaching God in prayer on their behalf?
Genesis 18 provides the account of Abraham’s intercession on behalf of Sodom. When the Lord informed him of His plans to destroy that sinful city, Abraham cried out to God on their behalf (Gen. 18:23-33). His plea suggests some important principles for us to remember and apply. Here are two.
1. Remember the righteousness of God (Gen. 18:23-25). Abraham asked the infamous question, “Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked?… Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” This passage reminds us that God is righteous, which means He always does what is right, and He is just, which means He always does what is fair. Though we may not understand “why” in every instance, we know that God does, and He will always do what is right.
2. We should desire the salvation of every soul (Gen. 18:26-32). Abraham’s request of the Lord was that He spare the city should He find righteous souls dwelling within. Ultimately the Lord did not find even 10 righteous souls dwelling in Sodom and thus they were destroyed. But think for a moment about Abraham’s insistence. At minimum, it tells us that Abraham cared enough to make the effort. He teaches us that our attitude should be “Lord, may the wicked humble themselves and open their hearts to the truth, and may a door be opened for me to teach them the gospel.”
Jesus commanded us to pray for our enemies (Matt. 5:44). Paul instructed Timothy to pray for government leaders (1 Tim. 2:1-2), even the wicked ones. Instead of watching the news and stewing in anger and disgust over the ways world, we should approach God in prayer. We should pray that our leaders will lead in accordance with righteousness. We should pray that our enemies may become our brethren. We should pray that the wicked will repent and that God will give us opportunities to teach them the gospel. Are you praying for Sodom?