OK so you take the guy who’s feeling pretty depressed because he hasn’t been able to get a job in years, and you get him to pray for all the folk who’ve just lost their jobs. Or you get the woman with life-long emphysema to pray for the girl with a hacking cough. Or you get the guy who has been desperate for his wife to get pregnant all their married lives, and she’s too old now, to pray for the young couple who have just found out they’ve got a problem in that area. Hmmm.
But that’s what God did in Genesis 20 v 17 – 18. God doesn’t seem to mind stepping on corns! It must have been so hard for Abraham. It was such a sensitive area for him, and anyway, if (as he may have thought) God hadn’t heard his prayers for Lot why ask him to pray for anyone else – still less to have babies!
So what happened? Breakthrough! The prayer was answered, Abimelech’s household got fruitful again, and in the next sentence, Sarah herself got pregnant. Wonder of wonders! But I think something else was at play here. When you’ve got through with nursing your own pain, anger, frustration, loss, disappointment and so on, deep down, when you know how much it hurts that other person in their anguish, you can really, really pray from the heart. And that’s the kind of prayer that gets answered.
I think sometimes we are sitting there having a pity party when God wants to use us. For Abraham he had to stop focusing on his own problems and issues, recognise the damage he had inflicted, and pray for the man he had feared and wronged. And that’s when he got the breakthrough! Any thoughts around that?