Genesis 18:1: “The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day.”

Afternoons in the desert are the hottest part of the day. This is when people hide from the sun and retreat into the shadows. Abraham, the first patriarch of the Jewish people, sat down in the cooling shade of the old and mature trees near Mamre. Then out of nowhere three men appeared and stepped up to greet the old patriarch. As it turned out, the Lord payed Abraham a visit.

Call me fastidious, but I find it interesting that the Lord visited Abraham during the hottest part of the day. If the Lord won’t avoid the desert midday heat, neither will He avoid the heat of our various battles. When fighting temptations we need Him the most. As long as we live on this earth we deal with all kinds of challenges and the Lord is there to help us through all of them.

One of the reasons why the Lord came to see Abraham was the corruption apparent in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. He debated what course of action to take and decided to involve Abraham. Here is a snippet of the conversation between him and the Lord (Genesis 18:17+22+25-26):

“Then the Lord said, ‘Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?’ The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord. Then Abraham approached him and said: ‘Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?’

The Lord said, ‘If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.’”

Abraham had a vested interest in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because his nephew Lot lived in that region. This is what it takes to fire up our prayer life: something intensely personal is at stake.

The patriarch had God’s ear, and I believe this is also good news for us. Have you ever wondered whether our prayers matter? I believe God listens to His children. The point being, the world benefits when we pray. Prayers have changed the course of history in the past and I also believe that it is our prayers that hold the present world together.