Praying for Prodigals—Praying, Not Judging

On a visit to New York with my husband years ago, our host pastor was driving us around the Brooklyn area. While waiting at a traffic light I looked out the window and saw a drunk man who had stepped into a glass-walled phone booth to escape the cold wind. He had passed out, but the restricted space of the booth caused him to crumple into a heap. How could a person allow himself to get into such a state? I thought self-righteously. But God knew my heart and read my thoughts. Instantly, I sensed His rebuke: My Son died for him, just as He died for you. You should be praying for him instead of condemning him. I repented for my spiritual pride and asked God to forgive me. Since then, I’ve asked Him to help me see people as He does, and to pray for them with compassion that someone will cross their path who can share God’s unconditional love with them and give them hope. (Ruthanne Garlock)1

“‘Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!’ Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.” (Luke 15:6-7: TLB)

Give Him 15 minutes in prayer:

  • Ask Holy Spirit to sensitize you to the people you encounter with whom you can share a word of hope to point them to the Savior.
  • As you pray for your own prodigal, remember the many others who may not have a praying loved one, and stand in the gap for them.
  • Ask God to cause prodigals to remember the love they once knew at Father’s house, and give them the desire to return home.

A prayer you can pray:

Lord, forgive me for self-righteously judging others while overlooking my own sinful pride. Thank You for accepting me when I was a rebel and embracing me with Your love. Help me to be an instrument of love and reconciliation toward those you bring across my path. Amen.

Today’s decree:

I desire to have a pure heart toward others and to be one who brings hope to the hopeless!

1 Footnote: Excerpted from Praying Prodigals Home by Quin Sherrer and Ruthanne Garlock, Regal Books, 2000, p. 161.

Ruthanne Garlock has co-authored 19 books with Quin Sherrer on prayer and related topics, plus two missions biographies. With her late husband, John, she has traveled to 35 nations teaching leadership training for churches and seminars. You can reach her at www.garlockministries.org.


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