The answered unprayer

Since the first time I read it, I have been fascinated by the story of Abraham interceding before the Lord for the city of Sodom.  It is amazing to me that God was willing to refrain from the judgment He intended to bring upon the city because of one man’s request.

I have recently read the story again and was newly amazed at a detail I had never noticed before.  Genesis 19:27-28 says:

“And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the LORD. Then he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain; and he saw, and behold, the smoke of the land which went up like the smoke of a furnace. “

Abraham awakes to find that the Lord has indeed brought judgment to the cities.  What heartache he must have experienced at that moment, knowing that his nephew lived in that city.  But verse 29 tells us that “it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot had dwelt.”

God answered the prayer that Abraham had not prayed.  He saw beyond Abraham’s words to the desire of his heart, which was for the safety of his nephew, Lot.  This brings me great comfort as I pray for those I love, so often fumbling for the right words in prayer.  But God knows the very longings of my heart and He hears them, many times, even more loudly than my words.

I don’t have to say it just right.  He knows.