Has this ever happened to you and your prodigal? Right after you’ve witnessed a raindrop, a breakthrough, things seem to become worse than before the breakthrough?
It happens way too often, and I believe it is evidence of the war going on for the soul. Satan is not omniscient or omni-anything. He doesn’t know everything, and he certainly doesn’t know God’s plans in advance. He cannot even see the working of God in the hearts of prodigals. He can only react to the clues he sees in their lives of what God has done.
In Jesus’ explanation to His disciples of the parable of the sower we find two clues as to why this is prevalent:
“But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful” (Matthew 13:20–22 NKJV, emphasis added).
Notice how both people received the Word, but something happened that caused further forward progress to stop: “tribulation or persecution” for the first, and “the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches” for the second. Right after the raindrop, the enemy works to steal the effectiveness of the received Word.
Does this mean we shouldn’t pray for breakthrough so things don’t get worse? Absolutely not! If you are hearing a voice telling you this is the right thing to do so your prodigal will not go any further away from God, it is the enemy’s lies, devised to keep prodigals bound in sin and on their way to eternity in hell. Instead, we pray against it, and God has given us direction for how to pray.
I believe Jesus’ explanation of the parable of the sower reveals an important prayer strategy for those of us who love and pray for prodigals. When we pray for their ears to be open to the Word and their hearts to be prepared to receive the seed of the Word, which we do often in this ministry, we can also absolutely pray against Satan’s using tribulation and persecution to hinder spiritual growth and against the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches in order to render these tools of Satan useless in the lives of our prodigals.
Notice how I made a distinction in how we pray about the first two, tribulation and persecution, and the second two, the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches. The Lord Jesus Himself said we would have tribulation (John 16:33) and persecution (Matthew 5:11), but our reaction to them are important, as is the reaction of our prodigals. The choice about tribulation and persecution is not whether we will have them. It is between leaving the Word and standing on the promises in the Word when they do happen. One of these promises says, “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8–9). That is a powerful promise, a verse we can turn into a prayer for our prodigals.
Two other promises are powerful when we pray for our prodigals regarding their reaction, promises that can build our faith for such prayer: “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord” (Isaiah 54:17); and “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). This is what God promises, and our part in receiving these promises is prayer. We stand on these promises of God!
Most people who visit this website pray for and love a prodigal, and now you have another prayer strategy. I look forward to hearing your raindrops that result from these prayers. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.