Abraham Prayed for a Child, Sodom, Ishmael, & Abimelek (2023)

Letters Spelling Abraham on Bible Page

Several Biblical examples of when Abraham prayed

Before we dig into the scriptures where Abraham prayed, let’s review a few questions.

Who was the first man that prayed in the Bible?

Abraham was the first. Click here to jump to the story: Abraham Called on God for Abimelek.

Where in the Bible does it say Abraham prayed for Abimelech?

This can be found in Genesis 20:17. Click here to jump to the story: Abraham Called on God for Abimelek.

What was the prayer of faith for Abraham?

Abraham demonstrated great boldness & faith when he prayed for Sodom, the place where his nephew’s family lived.

Click here to jump to the story: Abraham Prayed for Sodom.

How did Abraham worship the Lord?

When God tested Abraham, he was willing to give up his only son. Abraham’s love for God surpassed that of his own flesh & blood, & God did not take his son.

Happy man standing on top of a mountain with arms outstretched, symbolic of Abraham being thankful after God spared Isaac

The Prayers of Abraham

As a side note, Abram & Abraham are one & the same person. God changed Abram’s name in Genesis 17:5, “No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.”

The bold words in the stories below are Abraham’s words to God.

Abraham Prayed for a Child

The words below are from Genesis Chapter 15, Verses 1-6.

Before this section of scripture, Abram rescued his nephew Lot. Four kings had carried off Lot & his possessions, & Abraham came to his aid.

After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:

“Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”

But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?”

And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”

Black and white image of  man's praying hands

Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.”

He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars – if indeed you can count them.” Then He said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

Abraham Called on God for Ishmael

The scripture below is from Genesis Chapter 17, Verses 1-27.

This sets the scene regarding the prayer that was said for Ishmael, who was greatly blessed because of Abraham’s prayer.

When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before Me faithfully and be blameless.

Then I will make my covenant between Me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”

Praying hands with bright orange background

Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations.

No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.

I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you.

I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.

The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.”

Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come.

Family hands on top of each other: Fathers hand, mother's hand, daughter's hand, & baby's hand.  Symbolic of generations

This is My covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised.

You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between Me and you.

For the generations to come every male among you who is 8 days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner – those who are not your offspring.

Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant.

Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”

God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah.

Silhouette of woman in meadow waiting for summer sun

I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”

Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man 100 years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of 90?”

And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!”

Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac.

I will establish My covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.

And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers.

He will be the father of 12 rulers, and I will make him into a great nation.

Sun & silhouette of man, symbolic of Ishmael becoming the father of 12 rulers & a great nation

But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.”

When He had finished speaking with Abraham, God went up from him.

On that very day Abraham took his son Ishmael and all those born in his household or bought with his money, every male in his household, and circumcised them, as God told him.

Abraham was 99 years old when he was circumcised, and his son Ishmael was 13; Abraham and his son Ishmael were both circumcised on that very day.

And every male in Abraham’s household, including those born in his household or bought from a foreigner, was circumcised with him.

Abraham Prayed for Sodom, The Place Where Abraham’s Nephew’s Family Lived

The scripture below is from Genesis Chapter 18, Verses 1-33.

This tells the story of how Abraham negotiated with God in order to save his nephew’s family.

Cupped hands holding paper family of man, woman, son, & daughter

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.

Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.

He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by.

Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree.

Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way – now that you have come to your servant.”

“Very well,” they answered, “do as you say.”

So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three seahs of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread.”

Jewish bread: Fresh sliced challah on paper over linen cloth

Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it.

He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.

“Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him. “There, in the tent,” he said.

Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”

Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him.

Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing.

So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”

Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’

Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”

Father holding his baby's hand, black & white image

Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.” But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”

When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way.

Then the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?

Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.

For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”

Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached Me. If not, I will know.”

Silhouette of priest on landscape

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?

What if there are 50 righteous people in the city?

Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the 50 righteous people in it?

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 50 righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

Then Abraham spoke up again:

“Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, what if the number of the righteous is 5 less than 45?

Open praying hands on orange sky background

Will you destroy the whole city for lack of 5 people?”

“If I find 45 there,” He said, “I will not destroy it.”

Once again he spoke to him, “What if only 40 are found there?”

He said, “For the sake of 40, I will not do it.”

Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only 30 can be found there?”

He answered, “I will not do it if I find 30 there.”

Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only 20 can be found there?”

He said, “For the sake of 20, I will not destroy it.”

Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only 10 can be found there?”

He answered, “For the sake of 10, I will not destroy it.”

When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.

Ruins of historic Tel Megiddo, Jizreel Valley, Israel

Abraham Called on God for Abimelek

In this example, scripture doesn’t provide the words Abraham said when he prayed, but we can read about what was going on at the time, why a prayer was said, & how God answered the prayer.

Two angels appeared as men & urged Lot to leave Sodom with his family.

Lot hesitated, & the angels took his hand & the hands of his wife & two daughters & led them carefully out of the city, for the Lord was compassionate to them.

The scripture below is from Genesis Chapter 20, Verses 1-17. Sodom & Gomorrah were destroyed before these events.

Now Abraham moved on from there into the region of the Negev and lived between Kadesh and Shur.

For a while he stayed in Gerar, and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” Then Abimelek king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her.

Man taking woman's hand

But God came to Abimelek in a dream one night and said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman.”

Now Abimelek had not gone near her, so he said, “Lord, will you destroy an innocent nation?

Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister,’ and didn’t she also say, ‘He is my brother’? I have done this with a clear conscience and clean hands.”

Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know you did this with a clear conscience, and so I have kept you from sinning against me. That is why I did not let you touch her.

Now return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her, you may be sure that you and all who belong to you will die.”

Man's hands folded in prayer

Early the next morning Abimelek summoned all his officials, and when he told them all that had happened, they were very much afraid.

Then Abimelek called Abraham in and said, “What have you done to us? How have I wronged you that you have brought such great guilt upon me and my kingdom?

You have done things to me that should never be done.”

And Abimelek asked Abraham, “What was your reason for doing this?”

Abraham replied, “I said to myself, ‘There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’ Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not of my mother; and she became my wife.

And when God had me wander from my father’s household, I said to her, ‘This is how you can show your love to me: Everywhere we go, say of me, “He is my brother.”’”

Closeup of woman's talking mouth with white background

Then Abimelek brought sheep and cattle and male and female slaves and gave them to Abraham, and he returned Sarah his wife to him.

And Abimelek said, “My land is before you; live wherever you like.”

To Sarah he said, “I am giving your brother a thousand shekels of silver. This is to cover the offense against you before all who are with you; you are completely vindicated.”

Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelek, his wife and his female slaves so they could have children again, for the Lord had kept all the women in Abimelek’s household from conceiving because of Abraham’s wife Sarah.

Have any thoughts on the prayers Abraham said? I’d love to hear from you!

Please comment at the bottom of the page. Thank you, & it is my prayer you have a very blessed day! ❤

Closeup of young woman praying

You may also like:

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You may also be interested in the following link, which explains in more detail what Genesis 17:18 (Abraham’s prayer for Ishmael) means: BibleRef.com

Here is a short video about Abraham’s Prayer Life:

Abraham Prayed for a Child, Sodom, Ishmael, & Abimelek (2023)

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