Henry Cloud & John Townsend - Life Journey

Asking God to Change His Mind

Sometimes in the Bible, through dialogue, God is described as changing his mind. We can be said to influence him because our relationship with him is a real relationship of the kind Abraham had with God (see 2 Chronicles 20:7 and James 2:23, where Abraham is called God’s “friend”). In this passage, God had already determined that he was going to destroy Sodom, yet Abraham negotiated for the city to be spared if only ten righteous people were found. God used Abraham’s intercession and responded to it, a great lesson to us.

When we make our feelings and wishes known, God responds. Sometimes we do not think of God as accessible, but the Bible is clear: One of the most astounding teachings of the Bible is that God involves us and our prayers in his process of redemption. It wouldn’t be a real relationship if we weren’t involved. “‘Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the LORD” (Isaiah 1:18). Like a real friend or a real father, he implies, “Let me hear your side of things, and I will consider them. They matter to me. Maybe you will learn something new when you inquire of me.” God seeks to teach us perseverance and obedience through his use of prayer.

If there’s a lesson for us in the story of Abraham’s intercession for Sodom, it’s this: God does not want us to be passive in our relationship with him. Instead, we are to take the initiative to bring our needs, desires and wishes to him.