Prophet Abraham’s Prayers

Depiction of the separation of Abraham and Lot by Wenceslaus Hollar

Abraham’s father, Terah, was the man among his people who shaped idols out of wood or stones. Abraham started his mission by calling him to desist from idol-worship and turn towards God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth. When he encountered the inexplicable opposition of his father, he left him, saying: ‘I will pray for forgiveness for you,’ and because of this promise, he asked God’s pardon for him, saying,

‘Forgive my father, for that he is one of those who go astray!’.

There is for you an excellent example (to follow) in Abraham and those with him. They said to their people: ‘We are clear of you and whatever you worship besides God. We have rejected you, and there has arisen enmity and hatred forever between us and you, unless you believe in God and Him alone.’ But Abraham said to his father:

‘I will pray for forgiveness for you, although I have no power (to get) anything on your behalf from God.’ – ‘Our Lord! In You we have put our trust, and to You we turn in repentance; to You is the final return.’

As indicated above, Abraham’s prayer for his father was because of a promise he had made to him, and when it became clear to him that his father was an enemy to God, he dissociated himself from him and gave up praying for his forgiveness.

Abraham’s Intercession for Sodom & Gomorrah Genesis 18:23-33

23 Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare[a] the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? 25 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?”

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

27 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, 28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?”

“If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    1. Genesis 18:24 Or forgive; also in verse 26

Abraham, originally Abram, is the common patriarch of the three Abrahamic religions. In Judaism, he is the founding father of the Covenant, the special relationship between the Jewish people and God; in Christianity, he is the prototype of all believers, Jewish or Gentile; and in Islam he is seen as a link in the chain of prophets that begins with Adam and culminates in Muhammad.

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