Today’s bible lessons are on prayer. In Genesis Abraham is praying to God pleading not to destroy a city for the sake of the righteous people there. Jesus teaches the disciples how to pray. He even cites examples of human parents as to how they respond to the supplications of friends and children.
We are so familiar with the prayer Jesus taught and we do pray that very often, perhaps many times a day. When we say the rosary we say it at least six times. However, do we really realize or relish the meaning of the words and phrases we employ therein, and are we aware of the implications of them? How many of us really mean it when we say, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”? Are we aware that when we say this prayer God is truly listening to us? If so, will we dare to say that again and again? Think, and if need be, change or don’t pray it! If we feel confident about us, continue to pray it.
I am a bit curious and concentrated today on the prayer of Abraham. After all, there is not much business for Abraham in the city where the messengers of God or God himself was going today with an intent to scrutinize it and, if found wanting, to destroy it. Of course his nephew (brother’s son) Lot was living in that city with his wife and two young and unmarried daughters. Abraham’s prayer to the Lord was not necessarily for these four people whom he could have managed to save even otherwise. He was praying for the entire people of the city who were in no way related to him, who were probably aliens to him.
Since he was living not too far and being in the know of things happening in that city, probably the same things that are currently happening in many of our present day cities with an aura of legal sanctions and political correctness, Abraham easily read the mind of God. Hence he dares to stand before God and plead, gradually narrowing down the dimensions of his plea from fifty to just ten righteous people for the sake of whom God agreed to spare the city from destruction. As we read further on this Genesis story, God and Abraham could find only one righteous person, Lot, and so sparing him, God destroyed the city.
The message of the day’s readings is that there is a limit for God’s patience; and that we are still called and commissioned to stand before God and plead. Intercession for this world should be our primary and unavoidable daily concern!