Prodigals who have walked away from faith:
Exilers who have felt exiled from Christian community;
Returners who are en route back home.
Praying for prodigals, exilers and returners is part of the spiritual DNA of World Prayer Centre. It started with a Pray for Revival prayer day in 1988 and ever since the Lord has kept bringing this issue back to us. At our last Trumpet Call event in 2016, after a powerful time of intercession for loved ones, we invited initials or names to be placed on post-it-notes on the cross in the centre of the International Convention Centre. We heard some wonderful answers to prayer immediately after that event, and we continued as a team to pray for these people and then one of our team lovingly put the post-it-notes in albums as a special reminder to pray.
As we gathered on our Prayershift Zoom on 12 September 2020 to focus on praying for the returners, the prodigals and the exilers there was a sense of ‘coming home’ ! We looked at the three characters from Luke 15 – the waiting Father, the prodigal son and his elder brother and took a section for each worshipping and in zoom breakout groups sharing stories, scriptures and praying for those on our hearts. We heard a powerful personal testimony from Ian and Pauline Cole’ s daughter of her return to faith and to the church. Her challenge was short and clear: never stop praying! As we considered the elder brother’ s reaction, we prayed for the Holy Spirit to blow afresh through His church, causing us to repent of fixed ways and mind-sets and that our hearts would be filled with love so we can welcome all those He is calling home. We especially prayed for new pathways of entry to enable the thousands who are currently engaging online with services and conferences to be able to be reconnected in to Christian fellowships in their communities.
Our friends from Canada shared insights on the orphan spirits operating in both of our nations and how we need to pray for and stand for the spirit of belonging and especially pray for governmental leaders in both of our nations to protect family life and values.
Encouragements to keep on praying:
- Keep coming back to Luke 15 and meditate on the hope it offers for prodigals and the challenges for us in the body of Christ.
- Ask the Lord for a scripture promise for each of those you are praying for and use it to guide your praying.
- Share with a trusted friend the people you are praying for and walk together in prayer.
- Ask the Holy Spirit as to what and how He wants you to pray – don’ t assume what you think is what He wants for them! We have used the BLESS acronym many times over recent years.
- B for body, health;
- L for work, employment (and related issues re finance);
- E for emotional needs:
- S for social networks and
- S for spiritual hunger to arise. Sometimes as with the prodigal son in Jesus’ story it is the felt needs that need to be met first.
- Be open to how the Lord wants to use you practically in their journey home
Keep on loving; keep on waiting and keep on praying!
Jane Holloway is the National Prayer Director of the World Prayer Centre, Birmingham.