The Wave of Praying for Prodigals

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 1 Colossians 1:9

Weary.Tired.Hopeless.Impossible. 

Determined.Consistent.Hopeful.Faith.  

Unsure.Doubting.Rejected.Exhausted. 

Patient.Peaceful.Endurance.Focused.       

Hurt.Selfish.Resistance.Pride.                    

Loyal.Unconditional Love.Selfless.Kind

Praying for a prodigal has you experiencing a lot of emotions like a wave. Typically, most slowly roll across the surface building up until it peaks and then folds back into the water with a small crash.   Those are easy to pick back up and begin again.  

Sometimes the wave gets really big. It builds up with great strength and height that is very powerful. But when it hits its peak and comes crashing down it hits hard, forcefully, and takes longer to recover from.  

But at times the ocean is completely still and there is no movement on the surface.   The waves for some reason aren’t activated and the surface is in a state of rest. Underneath the water there is still a lot of movement and life.  

Whether you are in a season of bringing big battle wave prayers, consistent rolling wave prayers, or resting to listen to God, keep in mind to never quit.  Don’t stay still longer than needed out of hopelessness or fear.  May your rest be to refocus on God instead of your prodigal.  

With love,

Erica

Heart Transplant Week 3 Heart for the Rebellious

Worship:

Grace Wins Every Time by Matthew West

Memory Verse:
I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 11:19

Day 1
Definition of rebellion
1
: opposition to one in authority or dominance
2
a : open, armed, and usually unsuccessful defiance of or resistance to an established government
b : an instance of such defiance or resistance
Read part of The Parable of the Prodigal Son
Luke 15:11-16 three times.
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+15%3A11-32

When I think of someone who is rebellious, they display disrespectful, devious, and deliberate actions.

These actions stem from the authority’s wisdom, boundaries, or guidelines being rejected or in question by the rebel. What is really being said with an act of rebellion is that the rebel’s way is higher and better than the institution they are defying. Historically, there have been times when this has been necessary and Biblically supported.

In the book of Luke, the parable starts with a rebel son.

1. Read verse 12. DISRESPECT #1
How would that make you feel if your child or a child came up to you and said that?

2. Read verse 13. DISRESPECT #2
How would you feel if you worked and saved an inheritance for twenty-five years and when you handed it over to your child, it was gone in two weeks?

3. The father had two choices. He could have told his son “no,” or complied as he did. What do you think would have been the atmosphere of the household with the rebellious child if he was not given his inheritance early?

4. If he would have said “no,” what would continue to build in the son’s heart?

Ultimately, we all have to learn from our mistakes. If the father would have held onto the inheritance, the son would have a deeper root of rebellion growing which would have been much harder to get rid of.

Second, it would have shown the son that the money was more valuable to the father than him. The son needed the money, but didn’t value it or he would have used it differently. So the father needed to show that he would rather lose the money, then his son forever. Had he prolonged giving him the money, rebellion would have continued growing in the son’s heart. It may have hardened so hard that he would have been lost forever.

Day 2: What Does Rebellion Forever Look Like?

A rebel is different from someone who is just unaware of the authority. That is someone who is lost. A rebel has full knowledge of the gospel, knows the Father, and knows the ways of the enemy and yet their heart leads them to believe their ways are above the Father’s ways. Eventually, they rise up against the father.

Read the following scriptures:

2 Peter 2:20-22New International Version (NIV)

20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,”[a] and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.”

Hebrews 6:4-8

4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen[a] away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. 7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.

Hebrews 10:26-28

26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?


1 Timothy 4:1

The Spirit clearly says that in later timessome will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.

Luke 8:13

13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.

1. Can you think of anyone that you know that falls into this rebel category?

2. After reading these scriptures, what are your thoughts in relation to the rebel that you mentioned above?

3. What are the scariest parts of those verses to you and why?

4. What is more important to focus on? Your hurt or their hell?

5. Therefore, what is required to have a heart for the rebellious?

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Day 3

Read of The Parable of the Prodigal Son
Luke 15:17-31 once.
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+15%3A11-32

1. The younger son has arrived home, yet notice he doesn’t have to PROVE through action that he is sorry or his love. A verbal pure heart statement clearly declares his sincerity.

Notice the actions of the father:
1. Ran to his son
2. Threw arms around him
3. Kissed him
4. Bring the best robe
5. Put ring on his finger
6. Bring fattened calf
7. Kill the fattened calf

How would describe these items and what did the younger brother have to do to receive all of this?

2. In our human nature, would we model the father or would we want someone to prove that they are sorry?

3. Sometimes, people are not really sorry when they say they are. We should still model the father’s grace, but what does not need to continue or what may need to be different?

4. Thinking about Day 1, what was more valuable to the eldest son?

5. How is that a form of rebellion? Can you relate to that brother?

Day 4: What If?

Read of The Parable of the Prodigal Son
Luke 15:1-31 once.
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+15%3A11-32

1. What if the father was bitter about giving the inheritance and how would his days to follow be?

2. What if the father was wanting repayment when the son arrived?

3. What if the father expected his son to work his debt off on his return?

4. What if it was the eldest brother did everything the father did instead and the father acted like the eldest brother?

Do you think the outcome would have been the same?

5. How critical is the role of a loving father?

6. Who is the only father who can love us flawlessly?

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
Dear God,

Thank you for not wanting anyone one of us to remain lost. Help us to have a heart for the rebellious and extend grace including at a distance if necessary.

To God be the Glory

Broken Wing

I stumbled across a beautiful butterfly one day on a blade of grass. Not being one to pass up on a close-up photo opportunity of an insect, I quickly got out my phone to get the camera ready.  Feeling really blessed, I quickly snapped many shots of the butterfly up close and from different angles.  I thought to myself, ” I wonder why it is letting me get so close?”  I passed it off on the cooler weather, when all of a sudden my blessing changed and it tried to fly off.

Laying an inch closer to the ground then it was originally, it became apparent why I was given permission to be in close proximity.  “Oh, a wing is broken,” I surprisingly whispered to myself.  I tried to pick it up by gently placing my finger under its legs and lifting up, but it would try flying and stumble off.  Realizing that I was probably causing more unintentional damage, I left it alone and walked off and decided that the circle of life would take its course.

With that image still stuck in my mind for about a week, I realized that there was a lesson God was trying to teach me.

A prodigal is like that butterfly.  They will appear to be whole and complete and can do it very well.   (In fact, we all do.) This comes from a spirit of pride which prevents them from choosing to be under our Father’s care.  Praying for a prodigal can be very frustrating as you watch them walk further and further away from the hand of God.   It then becomes our pride that tries to encourage change and in a way force the prodigal out of hiding and expose his/her broken wings before he/she is ready.  Our encroaching proximity to their brokenness is threatening.  They will instinctively try to “fly away” when we get too close.  This is exactly what the enemy wants.  Distance between you and them.

God on the other hand, does not force the prodigal back to His protection.  He waits.  He reminds.  He nudges.  He loves. He teaches.  He disciplines. He knows the moment that it will all click, thus releasing the wings which humbly reveals the prodigal’s brokenness.  It is at this moment, He will heal and send the prodigal flying to people that bear the fruit of God.

So my final conclusions of the Lord’s lesson to me were:

  1. It is ok to acknowledge that a prodigal, no matter what state it is in, is still a beautiful creature created by God.
  2. Trying to help the prodigal causes more damage, even though that is not your intention.
  3. Pray without ceasing, but walk away and know that I the Lord am God.
  4. Bear the fruit of the Spirit to attract any and all prodigals who are returning home.
  5. You have your own brokenness that I (God) need to work out, so walk away and check your own wings.  🙂

Let God be the Glory

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!        2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV

Not What I Pictured

 

In 2011, I took a similar picture on this porch with my husband.  We were celebrating our first Thanksgiving in our new house.  It was almost a dream come true. It was almost what I had always pictured.  I thought the goal in life was to be happily married, have good jobs, and buy a nice house.  The only thing missing from this picture were the kids we never had. However, beyond the image, what was hidden inside was real life.  A real struggle and spiritual battle that had existed almost since the beginning.  And, why wouldn’t it.  The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Marriage is his #1 target.

So today, Thanksgiving 2016, I take a picture that isn’t…. what I pictured.  What sits behind me is an empty home with various types of memories and a dying dream.   It appears that the enemy is winning and tearing apart what should never be torn apart and Biblically never will.  However, beyond this image, what is hidden inside is real faith.  Faith that I couldn’t have dreamed of having without this trial.  Mainly, because  the forgiveness that is now in my heart  is authentic.  Mainly, because more than ever have I grasped the importance of being a praying wife and cherish my remaining days as my husband’s wife to do just that.  Mainly, because the story of the Prodigal Son that I hated so dearly in the Bible (since I’ve always empathized with the older brother), has now become my favorite because I now have the heart of the father.

This is not what I pictured my future would be, but I also would have never pictured this new level of conviction I have moving forward to stand for God’s truth and truly believe He can conquer all. This isn’t what I had pictured, but I know this picture rests in God’s hands.

To God Be the Glory

Ezekiel 11:19 NIV

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone an give them a heart of flesh.