• Rossendale Circuit

25th April - Thought For The Day - Return Of The Prodigals

Updated: May 1, 2020

Words by Bev Jones

Return Of The Prodigals

‘Prayer is simply refusing to carry things ourselves. It is the practice of loading the things that are too heavy for us, onto the shoulders of Jesus. And when we do, we find that there is not a burden, not a person, not a situation that he wasn’t carrying already.’

That was one of the quotes accompanying the call to pray for the ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ initiative a couple of years ago. As part of our church response to that, we held an all-night prayer gathering to pray for the return of our prodigals. To pray specifically that our adult children would be brought (back) into a living relationship with Jesus. We recognised that in many of our churches, there’s almost a lost generation of twenty and thirty somethings.

Photo by Chris Liverani via Unsplash

Adults who as children were taken to church, but who for a variety of reasons had decided that God or church was not really for them. And so, five of us agreed to spend all night in prayer, not really knowing how or where to start, but being willing to have a go. Beginning with a couple of hours of worship as a larger group, we invited people to write just the names of children, grand-children and other relatives on pieces of card.

At the end of the evening, we took those names into our prayer room, and during the course of the night, brought each one of those people before God in prayer. Many of the names were unknown to us, and so we had to rely totally on God to lead us in our petitions. Never has eight hours gone so quickly – and all of it in prayer. In the initial thirty minutes, the hugeness of the task absolutely overwhelmed us, but as we came before God humbly, we found that He took over completely and were able to pray into situations that we could never possibly have known about. We discovered the meaning of Romans 8:26:

‘..... the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.’ NIV

That night we prayed for over one hundred people– many of whom we continue to pray for, expecting God to break through and reveal himself to our prodigals in a very special way. There are so many of us who grieve for our adult children; longing for them to discover, or re- discover the joy of a life lived to the full with Jesus.

Photo by Chris Liverani via Unsplash

As we worship at home this weekend, it seems a great opportunity to collectively pray for the return of those children, knowing as we do that, that others are doing exactly the same.

“So don’t be afraid: I’m with you. I’ll round up all your scattered children, pull them in from east and west. I’ll send orders north and south: ‘send them back. Return my sons from distant lands, my daughters from faraway places. I want them back every last one who bears my name, every man, woman and child whom I created for my glory, yes personally formed and made each one.’” Isaiah 43:5-7 MSG

It doesn’t need to be a complicated prayer. God knows each and every one of those for whom we pray. Essentially what we’re praying is that the touch of God’s love will leave an imprint in the hearts of those who we love.

- Bev Jones


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