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God’s Kingdom system works with a set of guidelines much different than secular processes. Leaders are promoted through servant leadership principles, as well as heart attitudes versus achievement through measurable goals and increased revenue. Finances are considered God’s and as stewards, they are protected through a system of tithes and offerings (sowing and reaping).  Prayer is considered the vehicle of communication to God allowing for wants, needs and desires to be met. Prayer also releases blessings on others, healing, prosperity, safety and offers praise to God. The first nod to prayer is found in Genesis 4:26 AMP “And to Seth also a son was born whom he named Enosh. At that point men began to call (upon God) by the name of the Lord.” {Seth was the son of the first Adam }. Although no “how to” guide or FAQ was provided on prayer within the Old Testament scriptures, praying to God was and still is instinctive.

The first recorded prayer is found in Genesis 18 and resembles more of a negotiation between Abraham and God regarding Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham petitions God repeatedly to save these cities from destruction because there were righteous (in right standing with God) people among their numbers. Abraham and God had a unique level of relationship – more like old friends, freely conversant – casual yet respectful.

Genesis 18:23-28And Abraham came close and said, Will You destroy the righteous (those upright and in right standing) together with the wicked? Suppose there are in the city fifty righteous ; will You destroy the place and not spare it for the sake of the fifty righteous in it? Far be it from You to do such a thing – to slay the righteous fare as do the wicked! Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth execute judgment and do righteously? And the Lord said, If I find in the city of Sodom fifty righteous (upright and right standing) I will spare the whole place for their sake. Abraham answered, Behold now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken upon myself to speak to the Lord. If five of the fifty righteous should be lacking – will You destroy the whole city for lack of five? He said, If I find forty five, I will not destroy it.

This negotiation  / prayer continues until the Lord agrees not to destroy these cities for even the sake of 10 found righteous.

Can this dialogue be considered prayer? I must say yes. Prayer is simply communicating with God and primarily in the form of petitions or requests to Him (James 5:13-18). Abraham was clearly petitioning for the survival of these cities which makes this the focus of the very first recorded prayer. A righteous man (and a prophet) stood and interceded for the cause of cities, assuming that there were righteous people living there because his relative Lot and family were in Sodom. We must therefore assume that a merciful God hears the prayers of the righteous on behalf of cities and nations even accepting prayer as the preferred method to achieve His results because of the example of the Law of First Mention.

Unfortunately for the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, God’s 2 angels in the appearance of men dispatched to find the 10 righteous were they themselves greeted at Lot’s by a homosexual mob surrounding his house, demanding the two come out and “play”. Genesis 19:4-5 { I am not making this up.} From that point it was Das Boot for the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah. It is interesting to note that God, prior to the prayer conversation with Abraham, was already in the process of dispatching these 2 angels as intel to these cities to confirm what He already knew. Had the angels found righteousness among the people, they would have lived. Lot and his family’s lives were spared and were led from this city by the angels of God. (we know Lot’s wife did not make it out). The bible records Genesis 29, “When God ravaged and destroyed the cities of the plain, he (earnestly) remembered Abraham (imprinted and fixed him indelibly on His mind), and He sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow when He overthrew the cities where Lot lived“. Although He did not see fit to spare these cities, God remembered Abraham’s prayer and took care of his family.

The Law of First Mention means that it is the first time an important word is used in scripture therefore it is the most complete and accurate meaning serving as a key to its understanding and a foundation for its biblical concept in subsequent chapters. The fundamental concept in the first occurrence remains dominant, and colors all later additions to that doctrine. The word Prayer is not used in Genesis 18 but the action of prayer is described. The first time the word prayer is mentioned is in Genesis when God Himself instructs Abimelech to ask Abraham to pray for him following his near miss in taking Sarah, Abraham’s wife, as his own concubine. God spoke to Abimelech in a dream and instructed him to restore Abraham’s wife so that Abraham would pray for him so that he might live. With God’s own acknowledgement of prayer and request to pray – no one can deny the weight that it carries on the earth and in the heavenlies. Even though Abraham lied to Abimelech about his wife (twice) – God still rescued him and brought him favor because of His established covenant. (see Genesis 15 ). This was a clear act of grace which was extended because of God’s covenant with Abraham.

The cities and nations of the world now more than ever before are in need of resources and protection. God has clearly given us a method to hear from Him on his strategies and to call in the forces necessary to equip us in this great time of need. Jesus Himself has paid the ultimate penalty to preserve and protect His own. It is time for the unified righteous to pray boldly and confidently as this would be the will of God in these heavy, tumultuous times. #pray #prayer #Abraham #Genesis #God  #localchurch #church

Tracy Gatewood
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