Welcome to Friday’s Praise.
If you’re new here come read about:
Today, Bettie is sharing a piece of her journey as a Mom of two Prodigal sons, who have returned Home. May you be encouraged and strengthened by her story today.
Have you heard the call of the Heavenly Father as He asks you to join Him in prayer for the young ones? Maybe you are a Mom of a Prodigal yourself?
I have walked that road, and I know the varying levels of pain and love that are felt inside of a Mother’s heart. When my oldest child became a teenager, I resisted the efforts of those in our church who wanted to label him as a “perfect example” to all of the younger ones there. I knew how the pressures of those labels create a false pedestal that we humans simply cannot attain to. I prayed and tried to warn against those labels. I even asked those in our church to pray for my son as he was entering his older teen years, to pray that He would be strengthened only in God. Some of the women there told me to stop worrying, that he was a great kid, and he would do just fine.
Moms, please don’t ignore those promptings in your spirit when God calls you to pray.
God was preparing me for the many hard days and years ahead for both of my sons. He was calling me to a season of deep prayer and intercession. Thankfully, He sent a few close friends who were also walking with prodigals of their own. He knew that we could not walk the path alone, and so HE brought us together to share the load of praying, even when the church had seemed to fail us.
“Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:19-23.
Even as my older son struggled with his commitment to follow the Lord, he joined a local youth ministry and was excited about the new possibilities to walk God’s path. He went on an Overseas Missions Trip with this group, and we were all so excited for this step of faith. I committed to pray for him daily.
But when the Lord puts a burden on a Mother’s heart, it can be deeper than we realize.
One evening as I was praying for my son and his group, with Worship music playing in the background, the “Prodigal Son Suite” by Keith Green started playing, and I began to weep. As I lay on the floor sobbing, I heard the words at the end of the song, when the Father cries, “My son’s alive! My son’s alive!” I could not explain why I was so deeply affected, until a call came through to us about a week later. As I heard my son’s crackling voice over the line, he said something about the hospital, and I asked him what he meant. The leaders had meant to call us, but because of poor phone connections, they had not been able to reach us. We had not heard until our son told us that he had contracted “clinical malaria.” The leaders had taken him to a hospital with limited care, in the area where they were ministering. At one point our son’s fever had gone so high that they were not sure if he was going to live! But God intervened, and he told us he was on his way home with the group. The tears ran down my face yet again, as I remembered that night when the Lord had called me to pray for my son’s very life. God would use that song many times throughout the years, as He would ask me to pray for both of my sons’ spiritual lives.
Those times of living with a surrendered heart were broken by intense times of walking away from God by my sons. Many times my own heart resisted the call to deeper surrender also, as I heard Him asking to me to be willing to examine myself, and to pray even more deeply.
How could I offer my heart back to God when frustration and anger was all I felt?
The world told me to just “let them go, they have to find their own way.” Even the church counseled me to walk in “tough love.” And while there are boundaries that have to be followed within your own family, there is also a call to love that God will bring to our hearts when we surrender our frustrations and anger to Him. He will turn our frustrations to compassion.
“How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I treat you like Admah? How can I make you like Zeboyim? My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused. I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I devastate Ephraim again. For I am God, and not a man—the Holy One among you.” Hosea 11:8-9
As the days grew into years, the Lord gave me an invitation that I was not expecting. I had never been a morning person, so I usually found time for my personal devotions late in the day. But He asked me to arise early, to meet with Him, and to go into my older son’s room as soon as he left for work. God met me so beautifully in those early morning hours praying for both of my sons. He gave me Spirit Songs from the Scriptures that He placed on my heart for them:
“Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts. My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you.” Isaiah 26:8-9;
“I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.”Isaiah 44:22;
“But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate; slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them,” Nehemiah 9:17.
While both sons went through very deep waters, and many different struggles through the years, God did renew their surrenders to Him! He heard their cries for mercy when they were a long way off. He indeed was that Father from the Scriptural story who cried “My son’s alive!” His heart yearns for all of His children to rest in His Love.
And my heart’s desire is that God will begin stirring other mothers, throughout HIS Body, to uncover their unspoken and hidden longings. We are meant to carry the load together to Jesus. We need the support that praying together brings. And the prodigals need to know that they are worthy of our open-hearted loving. We ALL have strayed and sought our own way, and walked the path of a prodigal. Only the Mercy and Love of the FATHER calls us back to His home, whenever we stray. God Bless you as you offer your Mama-heart to Jesus.
Lord Jesus, we come to You full of PRAISE for the many ways that You draw our hearts back into Your Presence. Thank You for calling our Prodigals back to Your heart. May every Mama that is reading these words today feel Your Spirit calling her heart to be joined with Yours in sweet prayer. May she know that she is not alone in the struggle for her Prodigal’s life. I ask that You would let her see just a glimpse of the way that You are at work behind the scenes. Would You give her precious promises straight from Your Word directly for her? May we all be encouraged as we lean into Your nearness, and hold onto Your hand as You guide us along the path of Your loving. In Your Precious Name, Lord Jesus, Amen.
Here is a song Bettie asked me to add to encourage you, as you love and pray for your Prodigal(s):