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.
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.