February 9, 2023 / by Jeoff Jenkins
When we hear the word “prodigal” we think of the story of The Prodigal Son. We think of a child who has left the faith or is estranged from the family.
However, the word prodigal means “lavish or spending resources freely and extravagantly.” If our son or daughter has left the faith, we would likely not think of them in this way. Many here at East White Oak refer to our loved ones who have strayed as “Lost Treasures.”
Several years ago, our son Josh was struggling and was not walking with God. We knew something was seriously wrong but did not know what it was. We believed that God would eventually bring him to faith, but we did not want Josh to waste decades before doing so. We prayed that God would speed up the process. Our prayers were fervent, and we had many people praying for him, including many from East White Oak. Often when we pray, the situation gets worse before getting better. This was our experience.
There were times when we did not know where Josh was or even if he was alive. Josh was shot at while driving in Chicago. A buddy in his car took a bullet in the back. We then discovered that Josh was a heroin addict. Prior to our prayers, Josh had never been arrested. During a long process leading to recovery, Josh was arrested three times for possession of heroin. He then entered a Christian rehab facility (His Mansion in New Hampshire). He was a resident there for over a year. God did a miracle in his life. Josh gave his life to God and was baptized with other recovering addicts. He later returned to the rehab center as a leader and soon became one of their department heads. Josh and his wife Amelia have now served at the facility for over a decade. East White Oak is one of their supporters.
How do we pray for our lost treasure? In Luke Chapter 15 Christ told the parable of the lost son after sharing two other parables about seeking and finding other lost things.
One of those other parables was about the lost sheep. The shepherd leaves the ninety-nine to look for the lost one. Later in the book of Luke, Christ says that He came “to seek and to save that which was lost.” In the book of Ezekiel, God speaks to the nation of Israel using the phrase “… your sons and daughters whom you had borne to Me.” So, our prayers should acknowledge God’s love for our lost treasures and that God is seeking our lost treasures as His own. We should acknowledge this in our prayers: “Lord, your children have strayed and need to find their way back. Bring your children home.”
But we too have strayed; we should acknowledge what we learn in the book of Isaiah: “All we like sheep have gone astray.” Even King David acknowledged that he had strayed. He finishes writing Psalm 119 this way: “I have wandered about like a lost sheep; search for Your servant, for I do not forget Your commandments.”
We should pray for God to seek us and find us. Then we pray for God to seek our lost treasures, find them, and bring them back.
Jeoff serves as a substitute teacher in the Builders ABF, sings in the choir, and has been on several short-term mission trips. He has 6 grown children and 19 grandchildren. He had a career in Police and Public Safety work, and currently operates a tax preparation business.
February OakLeaf Articles:
Prayer as Fellowship with God by Pastor Scott Boerckel
Prayer in Children’s Ministry by the Children’s Ministry Team
Engaging Your Neighbors Through Prayer by Pastor Justin Waples
Prayer for Your Pastors by Richard Verdery
Prayer in Moments of Crisis by Jeff Fritzen
Praying for Prodigals by Jeoff Jenkins
Prayer as Worship by Meg White
Prayer for Refreshing Our Building and our Hearts by Dave Rowden
Praying in Jesus’ Name by Dr. Jeff VanGoethem
Resources for Your Prayer Journey by Monica Ball
Prayer Questions and Conundrums by David Congdon