“Will you sweep away the innocent with the guilty? "


When Abraham has his dialogue with the Lord, he does so in trying to find out the very minute specifics of the Lords intent. In his conversation he is trying to find out a little about Gods justice, but is Gods reply to Abraham questioning the entire meaning of this account? Sure knowledge of Gods actions is important, and I am sure the innocent residents of Sodom were aware of the suffering they might endure due to the actions of the sinful citizens that surrounded them.

When Abraham questions God he asks how much mercy he would show in order to protect the innocent. “Suppose there were fifty innocent people in the city;would you wipe out the place, rather than spare it?” Forty five? Thirty?Twenty? Ten? ” For the sake of those I would not destroy it. Abraham could have rearranged his argument a bit and instead of asking how many innocent would you protect, he could have asked what he would do to bring those disobedient back into the fold. If fifty wandered, would you go after them? Forty five? Thirty?Twenty? Ten? Abraham could have had his conversation in many different ways, and likely he did. Abraham frequently conversed with God. 

Not all of his conversations were recorded, but for Abraham conversing with God was a way of life. In this particular conversation Abraham was praying that those innocent  are spared the wrath that was no doubt to come upon the sinners.Abraham was a prayerful man, he conversed with the Lord as if he was speaking to someone standing next to him. His conversations were not directed to a crowd and they were not delivered to show authority . They weren’t decrees, or proclamations, and were not delivered to showcase oratory skills: they were simple conversations, much as Paul’s letters to the Colossians was written to to a specific audience and with a specific intent. Neither were empty words, or mere formalities requiring little thought. Abraham asked very specific questions, and wanted a definite answer. 

When the apostles ask Jesus how to pray, they also wanted an answer as defined as Abraham’s, The odd thing about their request though is in thinking about why they asked Jesus how to pray. The obvious answer is because they simply did not know how to pray. Perhaps culture had taken the ability to converse with God away from them, or perhaps they were intimidated by the long lengthy prayers recited by the holy and educated leaders. Jesus in his instruction gives them the “the Lords Prayer”, easy to remember, and easy to recite, and easy to understand. He follows that simple prayer with the persistence of Abraham as a requirement of prayer: It is not the simple reciting that is important, but also waiting for the response. Knock and the door shall be opened for you.

Perhaps that is where so many formal prayers fail, they are recited without a response expected. They turn into proclamations rather than conversations. Conversations can be joyful, thankful, angry, sorrowful. They can be the full range of emotions that a person can experience. Proclamations are simply loud enough to be heard.A prayer is a conversation that both parties take part in.It is not one sided. The conversation that takes place in the Lords prayer is as real as the conversation where the Apostles asked Jesus; “Jesus, teach us to pray.”

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