Prison of a Prodigal

My mother has a “serious business” prayer….when it is “serious business”. It’s called the “whatever it takes” prayer. The words of this prayer mean e-x-a-c-t-l-y that! WHATEVER IT TAKES….LORD—SAVE THEIR SOUL.

I don’t take this prayer lightly. I have prayed this prayer three times in my life. When this prayer is prayed….well, as the saying goes—”Katie– bar the door!” Or —you better look out!

I remember as a young woman, praying this prayer about my dad. He was a dad….running as hard as he could from God. He had been in and out of church all of his “decision making life”. When he became old enough to decide for himself whether or not to go….well, it was hit and miss.
I can clearly remember kneeling in a small church, at the front pew, and a sweet elderly lady kneeling beside me and asking me what I was praying for. I told her simply, “my dad”. “I want him to know Christ.” In the way that his mother before him had known Him.

When I was a young teen he had left our home—never to return as a resident. My parents divorced by the time I was sixteen and I remember how hard that decision was for my mother. I remember how hard that was for all of us. But my mother continued to bring up her children in the way of the Lord. To teach us “right from wrong”. I believe she succeeded. But I digress.

I prayed this prayer, “Lord, whatever it takes, save my dad. Don’t let him die and go to hell.” That was my fear. I knew that he was much like the prodigal son. He had taken what was his and left to live his life for himself. But he was still prayed for. He was prayed for by his mother. A very godly woman that never laid her head on her pillow at night without calling out the name of each of her children to the Lord. He was prayed for by my mother. Even though their lives together would never be the same, she still cared. He was prayed for by his children. He was dad after all. He was loved.

The prodigal path that he chose, became the “whatever it takes”. The “whatever it took” had an impact on all of our lives. But when you pray that prayer, you really don’t think of what it might actually take. The prodigal pig pen became a prison for the prodigal .

A prison can be a place of real physical metal bars, but can also be a place of steel deep in the mind and heart, created by the enemy. A place that seems to over take your life in such a way, you see no way out. That is exactly what the enemy of your soul wants you to see. He wants you to believe that “your family no longer cares”. He wants you to feel that “you are too far gone”. That you’ve done too much “sinning”, that you cannot be forgiven. That surely, by now, you are not important. Maybe he has even told some prodigals that they have even been replaced.

A child can never be replaced by another. This prodigal son was just as important to the frail praying mother as her other children. The tears that stung her eyes for the other children, fell just as hard for this prodigal. The “whatever it takes prayer” was taking a long time.

How much longer Lord? Isaiah 40:31 tells us this:

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint.

Waiting is hard to do. Praising and worshiping while waiting, is even more difficult. But His word says “wait”.

I would like to tell you that it was just “a little while” before he gave his life to God. But the road to realization is sometimes a long one. It was many years. Many battles—many heartaches. And many prison bars. The battles and heartaches are felt not only by the “prayed for”, but by the “individuals on their knees”.

Max Lucado is a favorite author of mine. In his book “Grace for the Moment”, on March 7, these words are his… “Though the road to the palace takes a detour through a prison it eventually ends up at the throne.”

When the prodigal comes home….every battle, every scar, every trial is worth it. His mother would tell you that. But she’d have to lean over the portals of heaven to do so. But she would. She would tell you that every night spent in anguishing prayers over her son was worth the fact that he did finally come to know her Lord and Savior…. I was reminded this past week, we don’t pray for the convicting power of the Holy Spirit over their hearts like folks did when I was growing up. Why? What happened? Did we feel that was too harsh? Is there such a thing when it comes to a lost soul? I am asking your opinion. I for one, want the Holy Spirit to continually speak to my heart and mind about things I say or do that are not Christlike. I am praying for Holy Ghost conviction over my loved ones as well.

Father in heaven, I am so thankful that as I kneel before your throne, I am joined by those that have prayed that “hard prayer”. That “whatever it takes” prayer. For some, it took a lot. For others, they came more swiftly. But Lord, no matter how long it takes, we continue in prayer for those that are lingering on the edges of the most important decision of their lives. We ask that you simply keep talking to their hearts. Keep stirring up their sleep! May the Holy Spirit convict them continually, of everything that is standing in the way of them giving it all up to You. Until they all come home. I love you Father —- and am thankful that You never left. You stayed through all the tough times. You have always been my Father. I will always be your daughter. In Jesus most precious name I pray~Amen.

Picture: Art.com (Charles Schulz)


10 responses to “Prison of a Prodigal

  • Denise

    Amen, amen. I join you in this precious prayer my dear friend. I love you.

  • Linda

    As soon as I started reading this post, I got a mental image of my sweet Mom telling me she had finally prayed, “Whatever it takes Lord…” for my brother. I thought at the time that it was such a brave prayer. I still think so – and we still wait.I have also been thinking, Angie, that we have become far too casual about the things of the Lord. Tolerance seems to be the word for our present day, and I think it has gone a bit too far. There are some things that a Holy God simply will not tolerate and we shouldn’t either.This was, as always, such an edifying post.I’m so glad your Dad came to Jesus.

  • Donetta

    🙂I saw it. Whatever it took. It was at the very end with few breaths left even… It took only believing that He really did love them.

  • Chris

    Thank you Angie~~As usual, your post made me think and grow a bit more in my faith. Thank you dear friend~~~

  • Jensmere

    Bless you Angie! I too have prayed that ‘whatever it takes’ prayer. In the case of my dear cousin, it took lung cancer. Now she is ‘home again’ in her faith and is completely cancer-free by the hand of the Great Physician!I have heard that statement used so often regarding our military “until they all come home”…you gave a whole new meaning to it. I will be agreeing with you for all our loved ones “until they all come home”!Love you, dear Sister,Susan

  • Paula (SweetPea)

    thanks for this reminder, Angie, to pray diligently. My prayer is not necessarily for an unsaved person but rather for a spouse turned prodigal. My beloved is a Christian and he should know better but satan deceived him to believe God told him our covenant was broken. He divorced me last fall but I still pray for the Lord to intervene and restore not only him fully to the Lord but also to our covenant which was not broken by any means according to the Holy Word. I have to believe the Lord is after him and desiring him to turn course. Even though he is living his life for God, it is this one area of our marriage that he’s been gravely deceived. I just pray that the Lord doesn’t harden his heart as he did with Pharaoh. I read in Romans today and it referenced that and it kind of scared me. Love,Paula

  • Denise

    Oh that breaks my heart! I have prayed that prayer and still pray it today for a few people……. Hurts my heart to do that but it is better to have them go through hell here and heaven latter…… Someone prayed that for me………. I am thankful !

  • Marsha

    This is exactly what I needed to hear. Praying for my prodigal.

  • Technonana

    NO MATTER HOW MUCH THE ENEMY TELLS YOU TO, you NEVER GIVE UP ON THOSE YOU LOVE!!!Their Homecoming is worth every ounce of prayer, tears, and sweat you have!!! I know!!! I have been on my face for a long time…The Prodical is returning Home… and she is waving the flag of surrender!!! Praise God!!

  • ktwalden

    I think we all have our prodigals…mine is an actual prodigal “son”. The “whatever it takes” prayer has been said over him when I thought I would literally lose him at one time. The Holy Spirit conviction prayer is the one that is said daily because I know from experience that it works the same today as it did 50 years ago. That same Holy Spirit has comforted me by the knowledge that one day my prodigal will realize..<><> THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME<><>

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