Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you
will be saved—you and your household.
There is so much about having a prodigal that we have no control over. It is important to leave them in God’s hands and focus on what we do have control over—our prayers. The enemy can lie to us and tell us it’s not working or it’s not worth the effort or it’s too depressing, but he can’t stop us from praying. Our prodigals can do the opposite of what we would like them to do, but they can’t stop us from praying.
Some of you have your prodigal living with you and it causes great heartache, some of you are totally estranged from you prodigal and it causes great heartache, some of you have to watch from afar as your prodigal makes poor choices and it causes great heartache, and some of you have a good or at least civil relationship with your prodigal and you do the best you can to love them and not push them, and it causes you great heartache. Do you see the pattern? No matter the situation we find ourselves in, there is heartache involved. We have a burden to carry. And carry it we must. These are our loved ones. They may not know it, but they depend on us to pray.
Prayer is the thing that can get away from us. You write it on your to do list, and you get to the end of the day, and you didn’t pray. “There is always tomorrow and I will do better,” you tell yourself, but tomorrow never comes. It’s always today. Prayer is hard work because it takes effort and intentionality. We must get to the point where we understand that prayer is the key and the thing we can always do. Prayer is how we take control.
I was listening to James McDonald, founder and pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in the Chicago area, and he was talking about this very thing. He says we need to get a vision of household salvation. Although not promises or guarantees, the following verses are patterns for us to hang on to:
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it.
Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, “Give them up!” and to the south, “Do not hold them back.” Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.
Prayer and faith are our part in seeing these patterns become reality. When your prodigal is on your mind and on your heart, that is the time to pray. When you can’t control their behavior, that is the time to pray. When you’re driving down the road or lying in bed before falling asleep, that is the time to pray. The awesome thing about prayer is yes, it takes time, but it can be done in seconds or in hours. It can be done while you are doing something else or when you have set aside time to be in His presence. God is always there and He is always listening. Earlier I said it is hard work, but only hard in the sense that we have to set ourselves to doing it rather than letting it get away from us. We must shield ourselves from ever thinking it isn't working or it doesn't really matter. This is where faith comes in. Let's all hang on to household salvation!
I am attaching James McDonald’s message (2 parts) this week. I think what he says is very powerful and more in depth than I have gone. He bases it on Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel 1-2. You will be challenged and encouraged if you listen to it.