One of my favorite Christian bands is Tenth Avenue North. One of their best songs, and one of my personal favorites, is entitled “Losing.” The chorus belts out for the Father to forgive those who don’t know what they’ve been doing against Him. We can all agree that forgiveness from God is already waiting on us, all we have to do is accept it. However, humans are a poor example of God’s forgiveness. Most of the time we want a person to approach us first and then we will “think” about forgiving them as we also “think” about how they hurt us. It is called holding a grudge and we all do it.
As I sat in my office the other day working and listening to music, “Losing” began to play. On any other day I would just blindly and mutedly sing along with the lyrics and tap my fingers on my desk. Unfortunately, the song gave me a different perspective on this particular day as it brought me to tears. Sometime during the previous hours of that day I had gotten into an argument with someone I love very dearly. The argument ended and quite frankly I was unaware if there was a winner or a loser, but by this point in the afternoon I was the one losing.
The chorus Tenth Avenue North so beautifully belts out seems to wrap the most important single point of the Bible—love. And with love comes forgiveness, redemption, grace, mercy, and so much more. As I proceeded to pray and let the song flood my mind and heart I began to think, this must have been what the father of the prodigal son must have been singing and praying as he watched his son walk away. I am now fairly confident the father was praying, “Lord forgive him, he does not know what he is doing.” “Lord keep him safe.” “Lord, Your word has promised me that You would give him back to me. I rest in that.” “Lord, watch over him today as I can’t. I know you will.”
Maybe you are like me and have a few prodigal family members. We all have them. You know the type, the deadbeat, the wayward, the lost cause, the outcast, etc. I want to encourage you to pray for those who have become your prodigal. Pray for their safety. Pray for their protection. And most importantly pray for their salvation. Pray that God would reach down through the heavens and pick them up out of their broken desolation and shower His love and mercy upon them. Shouldn’t we be doing this? Praying our prodigals home?
While the son was out making a mess of his life (and probably other people’s lives as well) I guarantee you his father was doing nothing but praying. We are so quick to not only slap a label on someone who has thrown family and Christian values out the window, but we are also quick to worry about them. Please understand that you should have a concern for your lost ones, but God has strictly commanded us not to worry but to pray without ceasing. I love my prodigals. They are my family and my friends, but I am scared to death half the time that they will pass from this earth before they meet Christ as their Savior. However, I have to be reserved to pray for them. And so do you. When we don’t pray for our prodigals we are showing God that we do not have a desire for other’s to know Him. It is not enough to just preach the word, evangelism to foreigners, or live a seemingly sinless life; we have to be praying for lost people. We have to pray for our prodigals, even when we think they don’t deserve forgiveness. And let us remember: we didn’t deserve forgiveness either.
“Father won’t You forgive them? They don’t know what they’ve been doing. Father, give me grace to forgive them, because I feel like the one losing.”