Posted on March 3, 2020 by Catey Stover in Freedom Fighters
Had an unusual week, among all the other crazy stuff, someone told me to stop praying for them… I wasn’t prepared for this, wasn’t quite sure how to react… You see, I know prayer is the most crucial lifeline we have; our sustaining flow of resources runs through this pipeline of prayer, by The Spirit, and right from the throne of God. I believe prayer wins the day, and without it, we will become dry and weak, emptied of all divine resources. O sure, we still have our own personal strength and will, but honestly… how far will those limited resources take us? And worse, where will it leave us in the end?
I went looking for a response in scripture, and came to this command from Jesus, “But if people (town) refuse to welcome you, go out into the streets and say, ‘We wipe even the dust of your town from our feet to show that we have abandoned you to your fate. And know this—the Kingdom of God is near!’ I assure you, even wicked Sodom will be better off than such a person (town) on judgment day.” (Luke 10:10-12 NLT) Jesus went on to say, “Anyone who accepts your message is also accepting me. And anyone who rejects you is rejecting me. And anyone who rejects me is rejecting God, who sent me.” (v. 16) I was having a hard time with just saying, ‘good riddance, I hope you enjoy hell’ to this young man, I really did want God’s best and for him to walk by faith, resting in His promises. Apparently, that’s not what he wanted… but I continued my search in hopes of a more agreeable answer. I found one in something Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, but it wasn’t really different. There was known immoral behavior occurring among the Believers, and no one was doing anything about it, especially the guilty party who seemed to be flaunting his actions. Paul said to the Believers there, “Then you must throw this man out and hand him over to Satan so that his sinful nature will be destroyed and he will be saved on the day the Lord returns.” (1 Cor 5:5 NLT) He writes this also to the Believers in Rome who were struggling with a similar problem. (Romans 1:24) Paul reiterates that these dilemmas are like ‘a little yeast’ that, if not removed, blows up the whole lump of dough.
Still struggling with letting go of this young man, I looked for an example of how to do proceed, and God led me back to the parable of the ‘The Prodigal Son.’ The younger of a man’s two sons willfully desired whatever of the fathers he could get out of him. He took this and squandered it on ‘loose living.’ These limited resources didn’t last long, sending him through tough circumstances that landed him in a ‘pigpen.’
“When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home, even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my Father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.” (Luke 15:17-19 NLT) This is what Paul was talking about; the Father gave the son over to ‘the desires of his heart’ or ‘to Satan’ like in the Corinthian church, ‘so that his sinful or willful nature, that desired to live without God, would be destroyed and he himself would be saved on the day the Lord returns.”
This inspired me… the Father may have ‘given the son over to his willful desires, but Jesus shows us that the Father never stopped watching and praying for this child. Jesus tells us, “And while he (the son) was still a long way off, his Father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.” (v. 20) You can’t see someone coming ‘a long way off’ unless you’re watching for them, and you don’t ‘love on those who hurt you’ unless you have been allowing God to work on your own heart through prayer.
I have been in both the position of the son and Father… neither is easy, but both are necessary for faith to show. The son had established enough confidence in the character and nature of the Father to hope he would at least take him back as a servant… not something he cared about at the start of his journey. The Father’s faith in His God at grown to the point he could entrust the welfare of his son into His care, believing God’s promise to ‘walk with us through the valley of the shadow of death, full of dried bones’ and ‘to restore what sin has chewed up.’ (Joel 2:25-32) This watching and praying includes some tough days and long nights. There are many lonely hours in a chair by the window… believing that ‘prayer wins the day.’
Imagine the joy the Father felt when he recognized his son’s figure on the horizon; consider the excitement when his hopes of seeing him again were realized in his son’s return home! Jesus says, ‘he ran to his son and embraced him and kissed him.’
I may not text a prayer to this young man anymore, giving over to his desire, but I still pray that he will return to God and take Christ’s hand, accepting His salvation work as his own. Maybe one day, he will come over the horizon, and I will know the joy the Father had for his son, ‘who was dead and has begun to live, who was lost and has been found.’ (v. 32)
There is hope, so don’t stop praying… God is at work, and prayer wins the day!
Written by David Brown: David Brown is a husband, father, grandfather, Pastor with a Masters of Religious Studies and a Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religions. Dave is the Associate Pastor of Pemberton’s First Baptist Church.
Think About This: “There are many of us that are willing to do great things for the Lord, but few of us are willing to do little things.” – Dwight L. Moody
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my [h]strength and my Redeemer. –Psalm 19:14
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the doctrinal and theological views held by America’s Keswick.