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.
We have now entered into spirit and heart preparation for the June 2 Worldwide Prodigal Prayer Day. Each week we will be going to God’s Word with open spirits and hearts to hear from Him, to be ready to enter into the battle for the souls of the wanderers we love. Our theme this year is Promise: He Is True to His Name.
Dear Lover of Prodigals,
For seven weeks we have looked at names of God—claiming the promises they embody. But perhaps we find ourselves asking, “Really? I haven’t seen it happening. Can we believe that God’s names are promises? That He will be faithful to who He is, as defined by His names?
Undeniably so. His Word says so:
“Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.” (Psalm 145:13)
Scripture is filled with evidence of God’s faithfulness, even when confronted with the unfaithfulness of the children of Israel, of His followers through history, and even of you and me. I know I am grateful that God extends mercy and grace when I deserve judgment. And still He is there, always trustworthy.
Look at these few, of many, assurances of God’s unfailing faithfulness:
“For I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.” (Psalm 26:3)
“For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.” (Psalm 57:10)
“But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” (Psalm 86:15)
It is that same faithfulness that makes the other characteristic of God unavoidable: He keeps His promises. His Word is filled with hundreds of promises—and He is good for every one of them, even the ones that don’t seem fulfilled to us.
Rejoice in these good words:
“God is not a human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19)
“He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations,…” (Psalm 105:8)
“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.” (2 Corinthians 1:20)
And oh what promises our God has made to us: forgiveness, a relationship with God, abundant life and eternal life, peace, comfort, hope….
And one more that I love: He hears and answers prayer.
We have so many prayers ascending to our Father. One of the most common is: “How long, O Lord!?!”
“… How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” (Psalm 13:1)
I know I have said those words. I imagine you have as well.
We yearn, we despair, we hope, we weep, we believe—waiting on the answer to our prayers.
There is another who surely asked that question, for seemingly unanswered prayer, for longing and waiting.
His name is Zechariah. He and Elizabeth had pleaded and waited for a child for decades.
Then this: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard.” (Luke 1:13a)
This message was delivered by a heavenly messenger, assuring Zechariah that he had nothing to fear—and that his decades of prayer for a child had not fallen on deaf ears. God had heard.
And now was the right time for God’s answer. His son, John the Baptist, would prepare the way for the coming Christ.
And that was the message God gave to me..
My emotions—in more than 15 years of “how long, o Lord?” times—caused these kinds of thoughts and questions:
Are you listening, Lord? Do you care?
What about the promises? Can I believe you?
I am afraid–for the future of a loved one. Will change ever come?
So is there sin in my life that blocks my prayers? Or am I just not effective at all at praying?
Will hope ever be fulfilled, or will hope always be disappointed?
I could go on. I’m sure you have asked these and other questions. But the right answer to these questions is not in things turning out the way I want, in my pain leaving, in the answer to prayer I desire.
The answer is in God, in who He is, in what He is like. I never seem to understand what He is doing or how He is working. But I do know that He does all things well, that He is good and is always looking for ways to do good to us, that His promises are true and can be trusted.
And I can know, with Zechariah, that my prayers have been heard.
So, in this time of good news and celebration that is often full of bad news and disappointment for those of us who wait for an answer, may you know that God has heard your prayers and His answers will be right and at the right time. He is a faithful promise keeper.
In His name,
P.S. In five days we will be on our knees, praying together even as we are in small groups or larger groups or even alone, for our very loved prodigals. And for the thousands whose names have been entrusted to us. What a privilege!
Be assured that I will also be praying for you: We are all engaging in a battle in spiritual realms against an enemy who desires to kill and destroy those we pray for. We who pray are on the front lines—truly in the action.
How about you? When have you seen God keep the promises in His name?
c2018 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.
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