Monday, January 30, 2006

More Than We Ask

In Genesis Chapter 18, Abraham contends with God over the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Some commentators think that he was particularly concerned about his nephew Lot, and his family, whom he knew to be living in the plain cities. Abraham dares to importune God, and the angel of God agrees to spare the city if ten righteous men are found in it.

In Chapter 19, we see the Angels arriving in Sodom to rescue Lot and his family from the coming destruction. Verse 29 notes that, "God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in which Lot lived." God was not obligated to do this. As there were not ten righteous men in the city, he would have been completely justified in overthrowing both cities without rescuing the family of Abraham. Yet, though Abraham did not articulate it, God understood his unspoken concern for his family. As a loving father he granted not the prayer that Abraham articulated, but instead satisfied the desires of his heart.

I find this very comforting, and a great encouragement to prayer. Though we should always aim to communicate clearly with God, just as we aim to communicate clearly with each other, yet we should not worry that God will misunderstand us. He knows the desires of our hearts. He knows these desires better than we do. He loves those desires, or those portions of our desires, that are good and that correspond to his desires. These he grants; these he owns as being prayed in his name. He answers our prayers beyond the particularities that we may impose upon them. He gives us even better than we ask for.

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