Is there such thing as a semi-prodigal?

What if your prodigal says he/she is a Christian, but his/her conduct and conversation say otherwise? What should we make of the questions that raises in us, the discomfort in our spirit, that unsettled feeling in our hearts and minds?

As someone who loves that person, wants God’s best for him/her, and prays for him/her, we cannot be satisfied with less than total submission, and that is exactly how it should be, and our prayers should reflect that.

We will never be able to see their hearts—only God can do that—but while we are not their judge, we know we can trust the burden from the Holy Spirit for them, and we can know them by their fruit.

“For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:43-45 NKJV).

So, if something is not quite right, we should not ignore it. One of three things may be at play within themselves:

  • They are deceived and believe they are ok.
  • They may simply be a “babe in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1).They are saved but the Holy Spirit is still working on them.
  • They are telling you what they think you want to hear, either to spare you or to avoid the hassle.

Unless we know them to be babes in Christ, we cannot accept semi-prodigals as okay. The Bible says God does not accept lukewarmness. In speaking to John the Revelator regarding the church of the Laodiceans, the Lord said:

These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Revelation 3:15-21 NKJV).

As much as we want our loved ones to walk at least as closely to God as we do, they have to grow, too. Ultimately the responsibility is theirs—“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12)—but we can fight for them through prayer.

It may be time that we are honest with ourselves that something is not right. We can pray for three things from Revelation 3:18:

  • That they will buy into the riches of the kingdom of heaven.
  • That they will be clothed with righteousness.
  • That their eyes will be open to the truth of their heart condition.

So, if your prodigal says he/she is saved, and some things still do not add up, thank God for the work He has done already and the work He is still doing in the heart of your prodigal, and continue to pray for a total surrender of heart and life. Start with the scriptures and allow the Holy Spirit to direct your prayer from there. Trust God with the outcome. After all, 2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”


PROMISE: “And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me” (Jeremiah 32:40).

PRAISE: Faithful

PRAYER: Our Father, thank You for all You have done and are doing to bring __________ into total surrender to Yourself. I am confident of this very thing, that You have begun a good work in __________ in answer to my prayers, and I thank You for working when I can see it and when I cannot. I ask in Jesus’s name that You will complete that work until the day of Christ (Philippians 1:6). I pray that __________’s eyes will be open to the truth of his/her heart condition and that he/she will totally surrender heart and life to You. I pray __________ will work out his/her own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12) and fulfill Your purpose and calling for him/her. I pray against any deception regarding his/her relationship with You, against lukewarmness in himself/herself, and against settling for things as they are now but ask that he/she will have an insatiable hunger and thirst for You and the things of You. I pray that __________ will sell out to Your kingdom and Your salvation and be clothed in righteousness. In Jesus’ name I pray.

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