Praying for Our Papa’s Beloved Prodigals

What a blessing you are to the Body of Christ that you long to pray for our Abba Father’s Beloved Prodigals to come home! Here is a verse that I pray daily changes the way we each see the Good Shepherd’s lambs and sheep who are even now caught in the thorn bush of their accuser’s condemnation. May Jesus show us how He longs to pray for His Prodigals as we meditate upon this living and active Word:

That same Jesus sent us into these Prodigals’ lives not just to bless them, but to bless us too, with a growing faith and trust in Him. He has given us His precious heart of perfect, steadfast love and mercy for His whole Body, that we might continually arise by faith, to take Him at His Word, as He bathes us in His Word and cleanses us of our sin.

Thank You LORD Jesus that You sealed us and each of Your Prodigal children unto eternity by Your Holy Spirit, when we first gave You our hearts as children/adults. 

Do you remember the lame man who was brought to Jesus by his friends, who lowered him down through a roof? That man had his sins forgiven on the basis of his friends’ faith for him. May we also claim this Promise of mercy and compassion for our suffering loved ones, declaring it over them. For, Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Nothing can shake His irrevocable purpose for His Prodigals (and for us too 😊).

If you are struggling to see beyond your loved ones’ sin, the hurt they have caused you or others, their unrepentance or their seemingly hopeless circumstances, ask God to pour out His compassion upon you personally first, that you might become His compassion to others. Remember, He cares about not just their pain, but our pain too, and longs to comfort us too. 

Whenever we are struggling, may our God arise to help us, that we might arise from our unbelief to run into His faith, love and mercy for His Body, the church, which includes our loved ones even now. May He move us to repent of our unbelief, reminding us that He is not ashamed of our weakness and need.

Did the LORD ask you to pray for a believing husband or wife for these Prodigals? If not, please do not do so: that is then a prayer of the flesh. My Mama did not pray for a believer for me – she prayed for God’s heart for me and now God is unveiling His purpose in me, my marriage, my husband and his Prodigal family and our children, restoring His Body unto Himself in the process:

1 Corinthians 7:14 KJV For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.

Papa, I thank You for laying your Prodigals and their families upon our hearts. Papa, continue to teach us to walk in Your Ways. Continually lift off the heavy burden of our pride, self-righteousness and the heavy yoke of responsibility we so easily take upon ourselves for Your children. Forgive us for the moments we have clung tight to our own thinking and plans for them and ourselves. Open our hearts to see and receive Your plans and purposes with joy. 

Papa unveil Your light yoke of love for us. Teach us to walk in the light of Your truth. Give us an undivided heart in Christ Jesus that we might fear Your Name above all else. Grow Your soft and open heart in us, pouring out Your intercession out of us for Your Body, the church, each day anew. 

Pour forth Your Word out of our mouth, moment by moment, as You place Your beloved ones upon our minds and hearts. Thank You that the word is very near to them and to us in Christ Jesus. It is in our mouth and in our heart, so that we can do it. 

If it is Your will that we might join each other in Your intercession for our loved ones and for each other, bind us and weave us together here in You, moving us to pray for each other and each others’ loved ones along with our own. Unify us in Your chesed love for Your Body.

But if we are not meant to be connected to each other here in this way, I ask You to weave us together with others locally and afar in other ways. Bind us together in Your chesed love for Your Body, as You unveil the irrevocable calling upon all of our lives to declare the glory of Your Name unto the ends of the earth and to be made One in You, Your Son and Holy Ghost.

And I pray a special blessing over Your faithful servant Fredrik from Sweden, whose call to prayer You used to encourage me to pen these words and prayers in You. Astound and awe him with the power of Your Holy Spirit and the word of his testimony in You. In Jesus’ precious Name, Amen.

Part 3: Chapter 3 – Day 7: Beauty for Ashes

Welcome to Day 7 of Part 3‘s Chapter 3 of Arise and Shine. Today, Anna is sharing a free will offering in a testimony the LORD gifted her through her weakness and need. It testifies to the blossoming staff of Christ’s holiness that leads and comforts us through the valley of the shadow of death, shedding the old for the new, as He calls us into His rest and peace.

Through His beautiful leading, Christ has been rooting me and grounding me ever deeper in the all-consuming love of the Father (Ephesians 3). God is growing me up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:15-16). Slowly, by the grace of God, I am learning to let the living law – Christ – be my perfection and completion, as I learn to surrender the responsibility that is not mine to carry.

Recently, just before God commanded me to depart somewhere He had sent me, an older woman spoke of my sharing sometimes being like fire, meaning it as a rebuke. This came only a few hours before another woman had encouraged me to stop bowing before my idols and to continue to speak what God had been compelling me to speak. So, as the older woman spoke of that fire coming from my mouth as something to be corrected in me, I took it to God. He asked me to humbly thank her for her honesty and then to depart.

What I didn’t tell her, is that as I took her rebuke to the feet of Jesus, He returned it to me as a gift. He showed me that that fire was not evil in me, but His holiness burning in me. He showed me how He desired to burn the dross, not just in her, but the dross of pride and idolatry in me too. For, He knew of all those present, I most respected her word. So, He purposely allowed me to face her open rejection, for being His mouthpiece. He gave me the privilege of loving her as He loves us all: in truth and grace.

Fire departed from her and others’ mouths there also, and by the grace of God I was able to receive that fire as a precious gift from Him. Each child of His in that place changed my mind in one way or another. They filled me with such compassion and understanding for people in my past that I had failed to see and love as Jesus sees and loves us all in our weakness and need. I began to understand in a deeper way why and how my loved ones had turned to sin to numb their pain.

I realized that we were in fact not so very different from one another. For, each one of us had just been so longing for the healing comfort of our God in our pain, as we watched those we so loved turn away from us in their inability to love us and receive us as God does. Ironically we couldn’t see that in numbing our pain, rather than acknowledging our weakness and pouring out our pain out at the feet of Jesus in prayer, we too began to walk a path of rebellion and to turn away those we loved most.

And it was because of God’s fire flaming in our midst that I was freed to confess a past sin of mine in public for the very first time, as the shackles of shame and condemnation fell off of me. God gave me the honor of glorying in His embrace in their midst and to thank Him for the gifts He poured out upon me in that place, as I departed.

Now, I see how that fire of His in that place was just like the fire in the burning bush before Moses: the holy fire of God’s Word, setting Moses apart unto Himself and burning away the dross of his sin and shame, turning the ground Moses stood upon, into holy ground. 

No longer did Moses remain a fugitive after taking the law into his own hands to try and save his people. No, because of that burning bush, Moses heard the Voice of His God. He bowed his knees and walked into a new life, set apart unto His Maker. The Word of God, through whom His people would be freed from their slavery and, a generation later, led into the Promised Land.

As John 12:24-25 (ESV) puts it:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

Thanks to the gift God gave me as a freshly returned Prodigal to intercede for my pastor in his weakness and need, and many others since, my own weakness and need has been repeatedly exposed. Through each trigger of trauma, in all the intercession and iron sharpening iron, my God has been lifting the enemy’s accusations and causing me to arise in His holiness. He has clothed me in His justice, that was wrought at the Cross, and led me out to become His cloak and crown of justice to others, in their weakness and need.

He has been leading me to throw off the old of pleasing and hiding behind a mask of self-righteousness. He has been rerooting me in His love: “so that [I] may no longer be [a] [child], tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes” (Ephesians 4:14, ESV).

When I first began praying for my pastor and my church as a freshly returned Prodigal child, God gave me this Word as a Promise, as trauma triggers began to shake me (Ezekiel 3:8, ESV):

I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people.”

Now, looking back on the past four years, I can see that God has been fulfilling this Promise to me. He has placed the helmet of salvation upon my head, so that when the sparks fly as iron sharpens iron, I no longer take it as proof that God has rejected me. 

I receive it as proof that God is in our midst, leading us all to repentance. I now know that He is giving us beauty for the ashes of our dross that He is consuming by the fire departing from His mouth. I am learning to embrace those flames as His desire to fashion me into His image, by His transforming power. 

He is strengthening me to (Romans 12:2, ESV): “not be conformed to this world, but [to] be transformed by the renewal of [my] mind, that by testing I may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Praise God that His mercies are new every morning. Each time I have wanted to return to the old He has purposely cut off, or I have wanted to put myself on a pedestal of self-righteousness by slandering those I have left behind, God has opened my ears to receive His Word of truth and grace. 

He has rebuked the sin in me and called me to walk in His holiness, to declare before Him: “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment…O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:4, 15-17 ESV).

He has continually rescued me, softening my hardened heart and teaching me to draw upon His love and affections for me. He has led me to deny myself, to take up my Cross and to follow Him. And, through His living Word and the precious Spirit-led sharing of people like Bettie, who He wove into my life right before my first church breaking, He has repeatedly lifted my pain and exchanged my sackcloth of mourning for a headdress of praise. He has caused me to arise in His wholesome Word of truth and grace with fresh hope, filling me with all joy and peace in believing, through the power of His Holy breath.

Praise God, Christ’s fire of holiness is flaming us each alive. For, it is our Jesus, who compells us through His living Word to throw off all that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles us. It is He who empowers us to run with perseverance the race marked out for us, to fix our eyes on Him, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set before him, our Jesus endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Oh let us ever consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that we might not grow weary and lose heart.

Through each physical departure, my God has been teaching me to depart my own fleshly thinking (that has told me to stay and fight in the flesh or to stay and bow to my idols to be loved and accepted) to instead die to myself and live unto Jesus. Interestingly, literally to “go” and bear fruit means “properly, to lead away under someone’s authority (mission, objective).” Isn’t that beautiful? Jesus is leading us out under His authority to fulfill His mission – the Great Commission.

Interestingly “unwholesome” talk literally means “overripe” and “rotten”. So, when Jesus calls us to leave somewhere, where His Word is not being received, it is so that we can leave behind His ripe and uncorrupted fruit that it may build up those we leave behind in Jesus, in His perfecting. Rather than clinging to the Word He is prompting us to share in fear of man’s rejection and letting our accuser divide our hearts and corrupt the pure and unadultered Word in us.

As we hide ourselves in Him, allowing His Word to hedge us in, we can wait upon God in trust, knowing the battle is not ours, but His.

Psalm 119:114 (KJV) Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.

Yes! All Promises are Yes and Amen in our Jesus! The perfect Jesus, who our Heavenly Father sent into our hearts, through His Holy Spirit that we might not dim our light, Jesus – the Word fulfilled – but shine Him brightly into the world that not we, but He may call many Sons unto glory.

Come (Isaiah 40:26):

Lift up your eyes on high and see:
    who created these?
He who brings out their host by number,
    calling them all by name;
by the greatness of his might
    and because he is strong in power,
    not one is missing.