It’s getting more and more difficult to watch the news or read the current headlines. Each day holds tales of sexual perversions, acts of terror, violent protests, or political corruption. What should Christians do in light of such a godless culture? I look around and see many believers who seem to be throwing in the towel. They’re content to rail against the darkness, then sit back and wait for Jesus to return and judge all the evil in the world. I think there’s a better response…a biblical response.
When God announced His impending judgment on Sodom, Abraham modeled what to do and how to do it. Rather than looking forward to God’s wrath being poured out on evil, Abraham began to intercede for Sodom, begging Him to spare the city. He was moved by the desire to see God glorified and by a genuine love for the people of Sodom. Here’s what I think we can learn from his example:
First, pray with humility. Although he was one of the wealthiest and most powerful men of his time, Abraham told the Lord, “I am but dust and ashes” (Genesis 18:27.) It was a prayer of desperation. He recognized that only an act of God’s mercy and loving-kindness would spare Sodom. Yes, only God could deliver Sodom from Sodom, and only God can save America from itself. It takes humility to approach God with the same sense of mourning that Abraham had. It takes humility to ask God to be merciful to the people who fill our headlines with evil, giving them another opportunity to turn to Him in repentance.
Next, pray with compassion. Abraham prayed with great compassion because he knew that the people of Sodom were in great danger. Do you have compassion or contempt for people who don’t know Christ? Consider this:
- According to Luke 19:10, they are LOST.
- According to John 3:16, they are PERISHING.
- According to John 3:18, they are CONDEMNED.
- According to John 3:36, they are UNDER WRATH.
- According to 2 Corinthians 4:4, they are BLIND.
- According to Ephesians 2:1, they are DEAD.
- According to Ephesians 2:12, they have NO HOPE.
Left in this condition they will spend eternity in hell, tortured by agony and sorrow with no hope of rescue. We know they are in spiritual danger. The question is…do we care? What will it take for believers to cry out to God with genuine compassion for those around us who are at such great risk?
Finally, pray expecting God to hear and to save. God was willing to spare Sodom if just ten righteous people could be found. Now bear in mind that Abraham started asking God to be merciful if fifty righteous people could be found. Each time he prayed, Abraham lowered the number and each time God said yes. The Lord does not desire for anyone to spend eternity apart from Him, so Abraham was asking God to do what God already desired to do. What tenacity! Abraham knew he served a just and holy God, but he also knew that God is gracious and merciful. Do we intercede for others with the same kind of resolve? Do we pray with the expectation that He can save anyone?
The spirit of Sodom permeates our society. Like Sodom, this world will one day experience God’s wrath on all that is ungodly and unholy. Until then, we need to show the love of God in the way we live. We need to pray for the salvation of the lost and for the revival of the church—with humility, with compassion, and with expectation. The presence of evil is obvious; may the prayers of the saints be just as obvious.