This is the first post in a weekly series of mini-devotionals on HOPE, which is the theme of the 2016 June 2 Worldwide Prodigal Prayer Day. This letter goes to the members of the Prayer for Prodigals community, but it is true for all of us.
Dear Lover of Prodigals,
The theme for the 2016 June 2 Worldwide Prodigal Prayer Day is HOPE.
When you love a prodigal, you know about hope.
It beckons. It’s fragile. It’s illusive. It’s cautious. But rarely does it give up.
We so desire for our prodigals to be free from their bondage—from addictions, from rebellion, from sin, from mental and emotional torment, from wrong friends and wrong choices. We pray. We know that God loves us and our loved ones. Waiting with hope is what we have. But if we can’t trust that hope, what do we have?
I find it so easy to place my hope in changes in attitudes and actions—and those are good. I can cling to hope that “this time” it is real, it will last, things will be different. My hope is in my prayers being answered the way I want, when I want. Or at least soon, or finally.
What happens after Prodigal Prayer Day?
As we have prayed for those we love, we have had some wonderful stories of hope fulfilled and dreams coming true. We are so grateful, and praise fills our hearts and our mouths.
We have also had disappointments, bad choices, painful separations, even tragedies. Hopefully even in those we can say, “Thank You, Lord.”
Except, when you love a prodigal, too often fears win out. You hope, but you dare not “get your hopes up.” You dream, hoping it doesn’t once again become a nightmare. You believe, but always with clouds of doubt blocking the brightness you desire.
You know the answer. We have the Lord. We have a faithful Father, a compassionate Savior and a powerful Holy Spirit. And the assurance that all the promises of God are “Yes!” in Jesus.
Can we have hope still, yet, again? Assuredly so! Will all our desires and dreams come to pass? Assuredly no. Will our prodigals break our hearts again. Likely so. Will we make mistakes as we seek to restore and reconcile? Without a doubt.
The only unshakable reason to hope
The only certainty we have is in God.
Our hope must be placed in something solid, dependable, unshakable. Our loved prodigals will never qualify for that. Only God is solid, dependable, unshakable.
He knows: He knows your plans, your prayers for the days and years ahead. He knows the choices your loved one will make. He knows His grand plan and how all this works together.
He cares: He looks at them and at us with tender tears. He feels the rejection, the loss, the torment, the disappointment. He stays with us through it all.
He is able: He is not a God who wishes He could help. He can. He is El Shaddai, the Almighty. He rules heaven and earth. And our lives. He said that NOTHING is impossible for Him.
So my challenge to you, to myself, is to make God Himself the object of our hopes and dreams. To seek Him above all. To entrust our prodigals and ourselves into His loving and able care. To surrender our plans, to believe His very good intentions, to trust His Spirit to give us everything we need with our loved ones.
In the weeks ahead, leading up to our June 2 Prodigal Prayer Day, we will look at scriptural examples of those who hoped, at sources of hope and results from hoping. We will prepare our hearts with promises like this from Hebrews:
“God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever… “(Hebrews 6:18-20)
I pray this blessing—our theme verse–for each of us: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
Hoping with you,
What about you? What are you hoping for?
c2016 Judy Douglass
If you would be interested in requesting prayer for a prodigal loved one, or being a part of our wonderful praying community, respond in comments or write to me at PrayerforProdigals at gmaildotcom.