One of the great mysteries from Genesis 18 is: What would have happened if Abraham had prayed to God, "Suppose there are no righteous people in Sodom. Will you still destroy it?"
Sodom deserved to be destroyed for its evil rejection of God and all the sin that followed. (Just as we all deserve death.) But Abraham was allowed, by virtue of God's covenant with him, to pray on behalf of others. He already had, like a bargain-hunter in an ancient marketplace, gained promises from God not to destroy Sodom for the sake of 50, then 45, 40, 30, 20, and 10 inhabitants of the city.
But Abraham stopped at that.
Did he think, "There are certainly ten righteous people left in the town where my kinsman Lot and his family live"?
Or, did he lose his nerve after so much intercession for others? Did he, as I often do, lose interest in what he was praying for?
We can't know the answers to those questions for now.
But this incident in which Abraham stopped his praying for Sodom followed by Sodom being destroyed, tells me that when I'm praying and so, have God "on the line" anyway, I can pray boldly and exorbitantly in Jesus' name, trusting God to separate "the wheat from the chaff," the holy from the unholy, the good from the bad, the will of God from the nonsensical, the necessary from the harmful.
This little chart (done by a non-artist, it should be pointed out) is how I picture what happens when believers in Jesus pray to God the Father in the name of Jesus, God the Son. (Check further: Ephesians 3:20.)
Lord, teach me to pray with faith to ask you for anything boldly and through Jesus, to do so trusting in Your will to always be superior to mine. Amen