In Hosea 2:1-8 We see the prayer of Hosea for his prodigal wife, Gomer. While these thoughts are about Gomer, they are great guidelines that apply to praying for any prodigal. Let me say this: The reason Hosea didn’t give up on his wife when the pain was at its most intense is because His love was greater than his pain. God gave us this story to illustrate to us that the proper way to think toward a prodigal is to remember that spiritually, we are often the prodigal. God’s love toward us is the foundation of our love for the prodigal.
When we pray for the prodigal, for what, specifically, do we ask God?
1. Ask God to hedge their way up with thorns (6a Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns,…”) “Father, please allow their path to be filled with misery, frustration and irritation.”
This is not petty: “If they don’t see it my way, don’t let them have any fun.” No, we pray this because of love for the prodigal. “As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death” (Proverbs 11:19).
2. Ask God to make a wall, that they shall not find their paths (6b “and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths.”). “Father, please make them unable to clearly see what to do; please cause confusion.”
3. Though “she shall follow after her lovers,”… ask God to not let them find them (7a “And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them:…”): “Father, please keep them from finding the satisfaction for which they are searching.”
4. Ask God to let them come to themselves and return (7b “…then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband;…”) “Father, please allow her to see herself as You see her and create a desire to come back.”
Allow me to discreetly share an e-mail that was sent from an adult who wrote to one of his former youth workers in our church. He said, “I just want to take a minute and tell you thank you, seriously thank you for loving us enough to walk a real walk. Your example back then spoke more than you know. The Bible says His Word doesn’t return void…you affected more lives than you know. It took alot to soften my hard heart, but God knows exactly what to do to bring us in. So when I surrendered I knew what to fall back on. And oh what a sweet surrender it has been. I carry a lot of regret for my past, but I look to David and realize God used him mightily after his fall. Praise God I can be used, in my broken state the master says, ‘now you are useable’…Brother, thank you!”
No prodigal is going to come to the Father until they first come to themselves. Coming to himself simply means, “I got myself here; it’s my responsibility to do what I must to get myself out.”
5. Ask God to let them realize the good aspects of their past that they had missed (7c-8 “…for then was it better with me than now. For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal.”). “Father, please bring to their mind the good and allow them to forget the bad, pain, hurt, etc.”
Praying for the prodigal can be a heavy burden. Next week, we will look at what needs we should ask God to supply for ourselves as we pray for the prodigal.