The Grace-full Father

This is the eighth in a weekly series of mini-devotionals on GRACE, which is the theme of the 2012 June 2 Worldwide Day of Prayer for Prodigals.If you have a prodigal, you know this story.  It’s called the Story of the Prodigal Son, but most of us have learned it is about two prodigal sons—the younger and the elder.  But really it’s about The Grace-full Father. (Luke 15:11-31)A little synopsis, then personalization and application.

Here’s what the son did:

He shamed his father by asking for his inheritance—which is equal to wishing him to be dead.He took a significant portion of his father’s livelihood.He sinned extravagantly—which is the real meaning of “prodigal.”He squandered all of it with wild living.Then he despaired, repented and returned.

Here’s what the father did:

He gave him his inheritance.He let him go.He watched and waited (and I imagine he prayed).When he saw him coming, he ran to him, embraced him, kissed him.Then he threw a party for him.He reinstated him in the family.Does this make sense?  NO!!  Did the son deserve such grace?  NO!!

Here’s what I have done:

I could make a long list of my sins—all the usual ones, generally not the “big” ones.I have sought to follow Him, obey Him, live and love like Jesus.  And too often I have failed.I have disobeyed, shamed, dishonored, abandoned, misused…my heavenly Father and His generous gifts.

Here’s what my heavenly Father has done:

He created me in His image, for definite purposes.He has pursued me, purchased me, redeemed me, reconciled me, forgiven me.He adopted me as His very own loved daughter.He invited me into His presence, talked with me, enjoyed me.He welcomed me back over and over.He extended amazing grace to me.Does this make sense?  NO!   Do I deserve such grace? NO!

Here’s what my prodigal has done:

He has done many prodigal things:  lied, stolen, disrespected us.He’s used and abused alcohol, drugs, girls, our home.He went through 17 cars in five years.He spent time in JDC and in jail.Okay I will stop.  Those cover most of the big things.

Here’s what I have done in response:

I established boundaries, enforced consequences, helped him to move out.I got counseling—for him and us, sought advice, listened, pleaded, preached.I bailed him out—once.I have paid for more than I should have.I have prayed.  And prayed.  And prayed.I welcomed him back, encouraged him, home schooled him, promoted his work efforts.I have mostly loved and extended grace.I have done some things well, other things not well at all.Does he deserve the grace given over and over?  NO! Was I right to give grace?  I think so.

So now it’s your turn.

What has your prodigal done?How have you responded?Would grace call for any different response?What about you?  How does the Father's grace affect you?c2012 Judy DouglassIf you would like more information, to request prayer for a prodigal, or to join our full-of-grace community, please write to prayerforprodigalsatgmaildotcom with your questions or names, or for an invitation. June 2 is our Worldwide Day of Prayer for Prodigals.