John 8:31-32, 36
Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciple. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!
It’s clear that our prodigals are being deceived. If it’s not self-deception, it’s lies of the enemy. Jesus himself is Truth; the perfect standard of what is right. He alone can set prodigals free from the lifestyle of sin and the consequences that follow.
I was looking at the meaning of the words “hold to”…
~ to hold with tenacity; to grasp; maintain close contact with; continue to follow (as a ship holding a course); keep possession of; refuse to abandon or change ~
I love the picture this brings to mind. To hold with tenacity to what Jesus has said and maintain close contact is what brings true freedom. It may be as simple as knowing just how very much God loves us. But with truth always comes freedom.
May our prodigal be set free from all the deception surrounding them, hold the course refusing to abandon the truth of Christ and be free indeed.
John 8:31-32, 36
Jesus said, “If ______ holds to my teaching, he/she is really my disciple. Then ______ will know the truth, and the truth will set him/her free. So if the Son sets ______free, he/she will be free indeed!
Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
Here is the same verse in The Message:
“Change your life, not just your clothes. Come back to God, your God. And here’s why: God is kind and merciful. He takes a deep breath, puts up with a lot, this most patient God, extravagant in love, always ready to cancel catastrophe.”
We serve a most patient God! Under grace we know we are forgiven by the blood of Christ. But, He still wants more than the outward motions of repentance (“talk is cheap” so to say). God wants to see a changed heart. He is the only one who will really ever know how deep the change goes.
Our prayer for our prodigals should be that they will repent, not only outwardly, but have a heart that is broken over their sin…
Rend your heart, _______ and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, _______, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity.
I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.
I love the picture this passage evokes in my mind. No matter how muddy and yucky a prodigal becomes there is still, underneath it all, a person of worth that is valuable to the Kingdom. The “waiting patiently” part is probably hard for a prodigal, but during that time of waiting, God will teach them so much.
The fact that He will set our prodigal’s feet on a firm and level place is so comforting. I love that about God, He will do this thing right if I will have patience too.
The best part of this verse to me is, when people see what God has done in my prodigal’s life it will affect them. This new “hymn of praise” will draw them to put their trust in God. People will see the song in them!
May this encourage you to keep on praying and trusting as you patiently wait…
______ waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to him/her and heard his/her cry. He lifted ______ out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set his/her feet on a rock and gave ______ a firm place to stand. He put a new song in ______’s mouth, a hymn of praise to his/her God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.
Jeremiah 20:11-12 (NLT)
But the Lord stands beside me like a great warrior. Before Him my persecutors will stumble. They cannot defeat me. They will fail and be thoroughly humiliated. Their dishonor will never be forgotten. O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, You test those who are righteous, and you examine the deepest thoughts and secrets. Let me see your vengeance against them, for I have committed my cause to you.
I love watching a fierce battle when the good guys win, don’t you? We will be engaged in battle as long as we live on this side of heaven. It’s just part of living in a fallen world who’s ruler is the prince of darkness. Picturing God as a mighty warrior looming over my enemy with no one other than me by His side is an encouraging visual. I envision myself standing there, dwarfed by His size, and beaming because I know we have won before the battle ever begins.
In my mind I can also see God standing with my prodigal against the enemies of their life. Those enemies are already defeated! It gives me such confidence to picture them side by side in this battle while I am on the sidelines cheering them on.
I pray the eyes of the prodigal will be opened to the victory before them because they have committed their cause to the Lord.
Jeremiah 20:11-12 (NLT)
But the Lord stands beside ______ like a great warrior. Before Him ______’s persecutors will stumble. They cannot defeat him/her. They will fail and be thoroughly humiliated. Their dishonor will never be forgotten. O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, You test those who are righteous, and you examine the deepest thoughts and secrets. Let ________ see your vengeance against them, for ______ has committed his/her cause to you.
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.
The picture of a yoke seems contradictory to rest doesn’t it? Any load pulled with a yoke, though, is a shared burden. God’s asking us to yoke ourselves to Him as He helps shoulder our burdens as well as teaches us about His gentleness and humility. Also, what we yoke ourselves to has the power of influence over us; we are a captive audience to it.
If our prodigal has yoked themselves to the world, they will not experience the peace and rest that being yoked to a gentle and humble Savior can provide. Pray they will willingly take on His yoke.
Come to me, ______, you 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 soul. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways, my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
When we don’t understand how our prodigal’s lives are playing out, we can take comfort in knowing there is someone much wiser guiding the process. God knows what He’s doing and my finite mind cannot understand all the ways the creator of the universe is working on a prodigal’s behalf. The way I would do it is probably not the way God is doing it. Just know that God has our prodigal’s best interest at heart. As much as we love them, He loves them more.
For my thoughts are not ______’s thoughts, neither are his/her ways, my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than ______’s ways and my thoughts than his/her thoughts.”
Hear my cry O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.
As in the parable, prodigals have to come to the end of themselves before making a change and crying out for help. And the Father is the best place they can run. He is a strong tower and will accept them with love and grace.
When, in the difficulties of life, the faint-hearted prodigal is driven to find a new place to run, may it be to the rock that is higher!
Hear ______’s cry O God; listen to his/her prayer. From the ends of the earth ______ calls to you, ______ calls as his/her heart grows faint; lead ______ to the rock that is higher than he/she. For you have been ______’s refuge, a strong tower against the foe. ______ longs to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
At times I picture this huge battle for my prodigal taking place in the spiritual realm, one they are probably oblivious to. This fight is for their very life because the enemy would love to see them destroyed. That’s why I feel it’s so important to stay in the battle myself – on the prodigal’s behalf. When the storm is raging, I find comfort in these verses.
I pray the prodigal will be convinced of this truth… nothing can separate them from the love of God in Christ!
For ________ is convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate him/her from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus his/her Lord.
Therefore He is able to save completely those, who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.
I love this quote from Robert Murray McCheyne:
“If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference; He is praying for me.”
Not only is Christ interceding for our prodigal right at this moment, He is interceding for us… He loves the fact that we are lifting a prodigal up in prayer. He fully understands our heart; the pain and concern we feel for these prodigals we love.
Envision the interceding that’s taking place as you pray this over your prodigal…
Therefore He is able to save completely _______, who comes to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for him/her.
Psalm 9:1-3, 9
I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. My enemies turn back; they stumble and perish before you….The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
It will be a wonderful day when you actually see and hear your prodigal praising God for what He has done in their life. Words that speak to the enemy’s defeat encourage me greatly. The enemies of our prodigal may be able to wreak havoc for now, but there will be a day when they will stumble and perish before Him.
Pray today for your prodigal to seek refuge in Him and there, discover wonders that will make their heart rejoice…
_____ will praise you, O Lord, with all his/her heart; _____ will tell of all your wonders. _____ will be glad and rejoice in you; _____ will sing praise to your name, O Most High. _____’s enemies turn back; they stumble and perish before you… The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.