Teach Us to Pray (Genesis 17:1-9)

In Genesis 18, the Lord appears to Abraham in the form of three men coming to visit him. Abraham shows them hospitality—washing their feet, giving them food and drink and shade to rest. In response, the messengers confirm God’s previous promise to give Abraham and Sarah a son, through whom a great nation will come.

In this story, Christians have always seen a glimpse of the Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Here the Lord does not appear as one but three. This spiritual reading led to the painting of one of the most famous icons of all time, Andrei Rublev’s icon of the Trinity. It is based on an earlier icon called “The Hospitality of Abraham,” but Rublev does something interesting by revamping Abraham and Sarah to focus on the mystery of the Trinity hidden in this Old Testament story. This week, we will pray this Scripture by meditating on Rublev’s icon.

Start by reading Genesis 18:1–15. Pray for God to communicate himself through the story and the artwork. Then spend some time encountering the icon of the Trinity. At first, take it in as a whole, not focusing on any one thing. Then examine particulars and details—their posture, the colors, the way they are looking, etc. Then go back to seeing the big picture. Notice that the table is open to the viewer, as if you are being welcomed into this fellowship of the Trinity. As we are hospitable to God’s presence in our lives, God welcomes us into his life—the perfect eternal loving community of the Father, Son, and Spirit. As you gaze at it, slowly and quietly repeat the praise the angels sing in Isaiah: “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Hosts. Heaven and earth are full of your glory."

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Tomorrow on the Daily Connection: Deeper Dive Podcast (Genesis 17:1-9)

About the Author

Nick Chambers is the Director of Spiritual Formation at Calvary UMC