Loving a Prodigal: By the Spirit 2—Comforter and Encourager

June 2 and the Worldwide Prodigal Prayer Day will be here in a few weeks. Those of us who love and pray for prodigals prepare our hearts to bring our wandering loved ones and the thousands on the “pray-for” list to the throne of grace. This year our theme will be By the Spirit and this week we look at Comforter and Encourager. You are welcome to join us.

Our theme verse is Zechariah 4:6: “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit…” 

Dear Lovers of Prodigals,

The word Jesus used when introducing the Holy Spirit is parakletos. It is a rich word with multiple meanings or connotations. Most recent translations present it as “advocate,” which we looked at last week.

This week we discover two wonderful and familiar translations or connotations, used most often in older translations: Comforter and Encourager.In the midst of the pain of walking through life with a loved prodigal, one of the best gifts we receive is someone who comes alongside us, walks with us, to comfort and console. Hopefully most of us have a friend who does that for us.

The Spirit comes alongside to comfort and console

But we have this assurance: God is that friend. He has sent us parakletos, who is called beside to comfort and console.

John 14:16: “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.”

Thus, as we live through the often difficult days with a loved one, God Himself, by His Spirit, comes alongside us to comfort and console us. What a promise and provision!

And as we walk beside our loved prodigals, or friends going through such a trial, we can be the conduit for the Spirit to come alongside them in comfort and consolation.

Yet the parakletos offers more.

The Spirit comes to encourage us

How often do you find yourself saying, “Can I confront him one more time?” “Will I stand firm on the consequences we outlined?” “Can I go through with the intervention?” “I need more courage than I have.”

I have treasured those who encouraged me during the darkest, most challenging days of life with a prodigal. They listened, they shared from their experience, they reminded me of truths from God’s Word that encouraged me.

That is one of the things the Holy Spirit does for us—He encourages us.

The important thing to see in this word is the meaning of encourage: to en-courage, that is, to put courage into. One of the roles the Holy Spirit plays in our lives is to instill in us the courage we need for the moment as well as for the journey.

We can ask the Spirit to give us courage to stand firm, to make hard choices, to keep loving unconditionally. And we can ask the Spirit to give our loved ones courage to turn from the path they are on, to withdraw from friends who mislead them, to get help, to repent, to surrender to our loving Father.

I am so grateful that our Father has provided for us in every challenge of this wilderness journey. May you receive from the Spirit the comfort and courage you need each day.

By His Spirit,


What about you? How has God put courage into you?

c2017 Judy Douglass

If you would be interested in requesting prayer for a prodigal loved one, or being a part of our wonderful praying community, respond in comments or write to me at PrayerforProdigals at gmaildotcom.