The first time that we meet the word “pray” in the Bible is in Genesis 20:7 “Now then, return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, so that he will pray for you, and you shall live. But if you do not return her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.”
The context of this text is that Abraham told Abimelech like he did previously to Pharaoh that Sara was his sister. Obviously, our father Abraham was not above sin and this so called “White Lie” is not really so white but it is a twisting of the truth. In spite of this problem God Himself appears to Abimelech in a dream and it is God who tells this pagan king that Abraham is a prophet and Abraham’s prayer is powerful enough to keep Abimelech alive and not to pay for his desire to take Sara as a wife.
In the same chapter 20:17, “Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, and also healed his wife and female slaves so that they bore children.” Here we find out that Abraham did pray for Abimelech and healed him and also made it possible for the Philistine King to have children. This we did not know from the beginning of the story and it is a fact that is revealed to us only after the healing of this pagan king as a result of the prayer of Abraham.
We are seeing here the power of prayer with a special twist. Here is Abraham who just lied to Abimelech about Sara and endangered his wife Sara for his own safety: Gen 20:10-11, “Abimelech said to Abraham, “What did you have in view, that you have done this thing?” And Abraham said, “Because I thought, surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will kill me on account of my wife.”
We see Abraham telling a “half-truth” for the second time in the same context. The first time he said that Sara was his sister to Pharaoh in Egypt, and now the second time to Abimelech king of Grar (a city in the upper Negev desert between Gaza and Beer-Sheva). He did this out of pure selfish reasons in order to keep himself safe and almost offer his wife Sara as a wife of a pagan King. If it was not for God to give Abimelech the revelation that Sara is a married woman and that Abraham was her husband Sara would have been taken by Abimelech as a wife.
With all that said it is clear from Genesis 20:7, that God still respected Abraham as a prophet and still honored Abraham’s prayers and healed Abimelech as a result of Abraham’s prayer. You see that God hears the prayers of people who are not perfect and who sin, but have a relationship with the Almighty God of Israel.
Look at the following passages: Prov. 15:29, “The LORD is far from the wicked, But He hears the prayer of the Righteous.”
James 5:16, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
1 Pet. 3:12, “For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the LORD is against those who do evil.”
In all of the three passages from the New Testament that are listed above you see that the Lord hears the prayers of the righteous person. From this we have to conclude that the LORD’s definition of a righteous person is not someone who is perfect and has not sinned, but a sinner like Abraham is called a prophet of the Lord and his prayers are effective and affected by Yeshua’s righteousness a-priori and post-priori, before and after Yeshua’s sacrifice.
Don’t limit yourself in prayer even if you are a sinner and don’t take your privilege to talk to the Father in your favor and in favor of others, some of whom you don’t even know in person. Keep on Praying dear brothers and allow the Lord to use you as His messengers.
President D. Trump is coming to Israel and to Jerusalem. The Jerusalem residents want to honor President Trump, but the traffic in the city is going to be totally crazy. Many of the streets down town will be closed for the days that President Trump is going to be in Jerusalem. The security issues that both the U.S.A. and the Israeli Mosad are taking are unprecedented and many businesses down town have been given an order to close. President Trump’s visit in the Middle East is in need of much prayer and I want to urge all of you who read this prayer list from Jerusalem to dedicate sincere and righteous prayers for both the USA and Israel and the Middle East as a whole. We are sitting on a “powder cage” that with a small spark can start a World War III. From the actions of this President it is clear that he is an unpredictable person, or actually to me it seems like he is very predictable to be unpredictable.
Please pray for Jerusalem during President D. Trump’s visit in our city. The city will be like under siege. Major parts of the city will be closed to traffic and obviously, we will have to work from home. The road out of Jerusalem will be closed in both directions for 6 hours on Tuesday. Jerusalem needs your prayers to keep the President and his company safe. Also, I ask you to pray for our Israeli government to be wise and strong and not compromise with the basic promises of God to the nation of Israel. I am also praying for the leadership of the Palestinian Arabs to be wise and to have a change of heart and sincerely want to make peace with Israel.
This article originally appeared as a part of The Jerusalem Prayer List by Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, May 18, 2017, and reposted with permission.