The Science of Intercession

Today’s reading:
Genesis 18: 32, 33 – “Finally, Abraham said, “Lord, please don’t be angry with me if I speak one more time. Suppose only ten are found there?” And the Lord replied, “Then I will not destroy it for the sake of the ten.” When the Lord had finished his conversation with Abraham, he went on his way, and Abraham returned to his tent.

Genesis 19: 29 – “But God had listened to Abraham’s request and kept Lot safe, removing him from the disaster that engulfed the cities on the plain.”  (NLT)

Extended reading: Genesis 18, 19

Many of us think that a lot of things happen because we pray to God. We take credit for praying. And God, in fact, gives it to us. He asks us to pray. He wants us to pray. (1 Thessalonians 5:17). And he does things based on our prayer.

God instructs his people to pray for cities and cities are saved from destruction. He instructs people to pray for specific persons and God does things for those people. People have prayed for revival and revival has come. Souls have been saved. Sick healed. Miracles, signs and wonders have taken place – because someone prayed.

Abraham was told of what would happen to Sodom and Gomorrah (his nephew, Lot was there). “So the Lord told Abraham, “I have heard a great outcry from Sodom and Gomorrah, because their sin is so flagrant. I am going down to see if their actions are as wicked as I have heard. If not, I want to know”” (Genesis 18: 20). Abraham knew Sodom and Gomorrah didn’t stand a chance. He feared for his brother and family there.

So in the following conversation, we hear him try and cut a deal with God (verses 22 – 32). In my opinion, he got himself a very bad deal. He made the assumption that there would be at least ten righteous people in Sodom and Gomorrah. There may have been only one. Abraham never spoke about Lot to God specifically. He never mentioned his nephew but he prayed for the city.

Fast-forward to Genesis 19 and you find there really is nobody who seeks God in that place. Verses 3 – 17 looks like a scene from those zombie movies, only in this case, these people were not really the living dead.

But I love verse 29 – “But God had listened to Abraham’s request and kept Lot safe, removing him from the disaster that engulfed the cities on the plain.” Wait a minute! Abraham’s request to keep Lot safe? I didn’t read anything like that in Abraham’s prayer in Genesis 18. But God saved Lot anyways and He did it because of Abraham. God saved Lot and his family because of somebody else’s prayers. Abraham’s prayer did not even cover Lot specifically. But God knew Abraham was worried about them. God showed favor on Lot because of Abraham.

God gave Abraham the credit for Lot’s rescue. We know better.

God does that to us too. He offers us a glimpse into other people’s lives. He gives us the burden to see what they are going through. When that happens, two things are supposed to follow:

  • We get on our knees and pray.
  • God takes action on our prayers.

It is a concept we may not understand very often – on why God does things the way he does it. But the concept behind the science of intercession lies in the fact that God is merciful, slow to anger and quick to mercy (Psalm 145: 8). I guess, that is the sole reason why we all stand a chance.

Also, God does not look for specificity from us. He understands that we don’t always know what to pray but He gives us what is best for us. (1 Corinthians 2: 10-12). Remember, it is not important for you to cover everything. But it is important to know the One who knows everything.

Who are you praying for today?

What do I pray?

Lord, help me pray. Help me stand in the gap for the peoples and for this nation. In Jesus’ name.

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This thought was part of the Weekly Devotional at


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