June 27, 2012
"'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.'" Luke15:18-19 (ESV)
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.
Heads turned and steely whispers followed her as she made her way to the front of the church during an 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.
In my small town church the phrase "pray through" 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 how you will make it back to Him and what it will cost you?
When coming "back home" we often have the same mentality as the prodigal son in our key verses, Luke 15:18-19: "'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.'"
Feeling worn down and unworthy, we come 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 come to Jesus, or when you allow Him to walk through the doors of your heart, no pleading or striving is necessary, only faith that His salvation and grace are your gifts. No need to "pray through." He is watching, willing and waiting to receive you.
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.
Do You Know Him?
In her book, A Confident Heart, Renee Swope dives deep into the truths of God's grace and helps women know the difference between conviction and condemnation. If you long to live free from guilt-induced doubt and take hold of grace-induced confidence, find out more here.
Confessions of an Adulterous Christian Woman by Lyndell Hetrick Holtz
Reflect and Respond:
Have you wandered away from home - even in some small area of your life - and need to return to the Father?
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 grace-filled to them.
John 6:37, "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away." (NIV 1984)
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 1984)
© 2012 by Luann Prater. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Wednesday, 27 June 2012.