A number of moving prayers can be found in the Old Testament. These prayers fall across the continuum of joy to lament, revealing the depths of human experience and the majestic grace of a loving God who hears everything and takes every prayer to heart. Following the insights and wisdom of world-renowned Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann, we will explore some of these ancient prayers and how they might help make prayer come alive for us today. Among the prayers to be explored are those of Abraham, Moses, Hannah, David, Solomon, Jonah, Jeremiah, Hezekiah, Nehemiah, Daniel, and Job.
Referencing Abraham’s intercessory prayer for the city of Sodom, Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann offers: “prayer that moves into and against the disorder of the world in passionate intercession is perhaps the deepest, most dangerous, and most compelling prayer in biblical faith.” Our message, The Audacity of Prayer, will come from Genesis 18:22-33.
Genesis 18:22-33 (NRSV)
22So the men turned from there, and went toward Sodom, while Abraham remained standing before the Lord.
23Then Abraham came near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will you then sweep away the place and not forgive it for the fifty righteous who are in it? 25Far be it from you to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” 26And the Lord said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will forgive the whole place for their sake.” 27Abraham answered, “Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. 28Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And he said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” 29Again he spoke to him, “Suppose forty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of forty I will not do it.” 30Then he said, “Oh do not let the Lord be angry if I speak. Suppose thirty are found there.” He answered, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.” 31He said, “Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.” 3 2Then he said, “Oh do not let the Lord be angry if I speak just once more. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” 33And the Lord went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.