Near the end of World War II, my father’s ship was in Shanghai, China for some time. One day he came upon a beautiful cedar chest with all kinds of figures and scenes carved into the wood. When he approached the man who carved it, the man asked for more money than my father could afford. So each day my father went back to bargain, and each day the price dropped a little. Finally, after a week the price came down enough to where my father could afford it, and he bought it. His persistence paid off.
Today’s scripture lessons teach us a similar lesson with regard to prayer. Abraham’s persistence delayed the impending destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham’s bargaining with God would have spared these two cities from destruction if only 10 good men could be found. Unfortunately, there were not even 10 good men, and those two cities were destroyed. In the gospel, after Jesus gives his disciples the Lord’s Prayer, he reminds his disciples to be persistent in their prayers. Basically the God to whom we are praying is a loving God who wants to give us what is good for us. However, he wants us to appreciate what he gives, and if we get what we want too easily, we neither appreciate the gift nor the giver.