January 10, 2009
Pleading for Salvation?
“…for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
1 Peter 1:9 (NIV)
Kay was a prodigal. She had been stunningly beautiful, but now her beauty was hollow and worn. Downcast with shoulders slumped, she walked through the doors of her childhood church. The reaction of the congregation burned an image that remained in my young mind. Heads turned and steely whispers followed her as she made her way forward during the invitation. She fell to her knees at the altar. A group gathered around her and prayed for what seemed like an eternity. She slowly rose to her feet and was asked, “Did you pray through?” to which the weary wanderer replied, “I think so.”
I don’t remember ever seeing Kay back in church again.
“Pray through.” In my small town church this phrase was synonymous with striving, straining, and working to find grace and deliverance. When I became a prodigal myself and wanted desperately to find answers and deliverance, I remembered the forlorn look of Kay and decided to keep wandering. It just seemed easier than trying to “pray through” somehow.
Have you been wandering through life looking for answers? Do you long to return to the Father after being far away but hesitate, wondering what it will cost?
When coming “back home” we often have the same mentality as the prodigal son in Luke15:18-19, "’Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants (ESV).’” Feeling worn down and unworthy, we return to our Heavenly Father thinking we have to work like hired servants to earn our place.
After many years, I discovered that forgiveness and salvation aren’t chores for us to labor over. They are tremendous free gifts from an amazing God! How incredibly liberating to know that Jesus offers these to any and all who believe on His name.
Jesus says, “Come to me.” Period. It really isn’t any more complicated than that. He loves you. He has been waiting for you and He welcomes you with open arms. We don’t have to work for forgiveness or “pray through” like those well-meaning people in my childhood church felt the need to do. God’s heart for us is the same as the prodigal son’s father in Luke 15:20. “So he [the prodigal son] got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him” (NIV).
When you allow Jesus to walk through the doors of your heart, no pleading is necessary, only faith that His salvation and grace are your gifts.
Dear Lord, thank You for giving us the gift of salvation through Your Son Jesus Christ. Today I come to You and believe that You are my Savior. I ask You to come into my heart and forgive me. Help me to live in the freedom that You promised to give. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Broken into Beautiful: How God Restores a Wounded Heart by Gwen Smith
If you don’t know Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, ask Him into your heart today.
If you are a believer and have seen weary wanderers walk through the doors of your church, show them unconditional love. Be the grace-filled Jesus with skin on to them.
Do I understand God’s grace; His unmerited favor towards me, His daughter?
Who in my world needs a kind word or touch from me?
Have wandered away from home - even in some small area of my life - and need to return to the Father?
John 6:37, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” (NIV)
Hebrews 10:22, “…let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” (NIV)
Matthew 11: 28-30, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (NIV)
© 2009 by Luann Prater. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Tuesday, 10 February 2009.