Once a month I write a letter to the wonderful Prayer for Prodigals community I am part of. Often those letters, though specific to those who love a prodigal, apply to any or all of us in the challenging circumstances of life.
Dear Lover of Prodigals,
My prodigal seldom had money to buy Christmas gifts. Occasionally I got something I wanted and let him give it to me.
But that was fake. So I, in greater honesty, began to say. “All I want for Christmas is…” something I hoped would happen in his life.
Over the years I requested some treasured gifts from him:
Surely the first time I said, “All I want for Christmas is for you to know Jesus,” I was confident knowing Jesus would bring new life and new desires and purposes and choices. And that June 2 when he met the Savior set him on a new journey.
But he found it challenging to stay on the path, and his walk with God was truly a roller coaster.
Say “I love you”
Probably the next request was to tell me he loved me. He grew up with his birth mom until he was eight, and though those were tumultuous years, he was loyal to her. When I became his mother, he couldn’t call me Mom or even consider loving me. He didn’t want to betray his real mom.
But over the years he was born in my heart as my son and I fell in love with him. I wished he could love me in return. It took him a dozen years to be able to give me that gift—first on a Mother’s Day card, then on a phone call. Now he gives me that gift almost daily with “I love you” texts or calls.
Make Better Choices
A third gift I asked for: “I want you to make choices that lead to life, not death.” I wanted him to choose friends who would be positive in his life, to abandon drugs and drinking, to drive with care, to respect the girls he dated.
This was a big ask, but slowly, one by one these gifts were given. Sometimes he came to his senses and made better choices; other times God intervened in miraculous ways.
Surrender to God
Most recently I asked him to truly surrender his life to Jesus. He has come so far. Previous gifts requested and given have brought him to a good place. He is hard working, responsible, sober. He is good and kind. He has a wonderful wife and awesome daughters.
For these I rejoice and am so grateful. Yet I believe God has still greater work to do in him and through him. I don’t know what that will look like, but I urge him, as I implore myself, my other children and those I work with: Don’t settle for less than God’s best.
That will happen as he surrenders his will to God, as he commits to God’s way and not his own, as he chooses day by day to walk in that way. He assures me he has given that gift and asks me to be patient.
Of course, even as I have requested these gifts, I know it has taken God working in him to produce them. So I ask him, but I also ask God, the giver of very good gifts.
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9-11)
This Christmas, may your prodigal surprise you with a gift that is exactly what you desire from him or her.
With hope in the waiting,
What about you? What would you like to receive?
C2017 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.