Does God even HEAR my prayers? Who am I that HE would even listen to my mutterings? To the cries of my Heart? So often I have gone my own way, followed what I want to do (even if I knew it was wrong), so why would God even care about me and my desires?
A story Jesus told in the bible gives me HOPE. It is found in the New Testament – the parable of the prodigal son. Most of you would know the story!
A wayward son asks his father for his inheritance even before he dies. This shows disrespect to him and basically all people living there at the time would have known the son was disowning His Father. It was like he was dead to the son.
He leaves his father’s house and goes and lives how he wants to live, and squanders everything. Then all of his ‘supposed friends’ leave him. This Jewish boy’s life gets so low we find him feeding and living with pigs. Not a place to be for a proud Jew.
Thinking and reflecting upon his life so far, the son realises even his father’s servants were treated better than where he is right now. His father feeds and cares for his servants.
So, the son gets the courage to go back to his father and ask if he could be a servant in his house. He was not expecting anything else. The way he treated his dad was appalling. His dad had every right to slam the door in his face. To give him the ‘cold shoulder’. To disown him.
And so, he prepares a speech, leaves the pig farm and heads for home.
He does not even get to the front door and his father comes to greet him.
The father embraces him. OUR Father – The Divine – embraces us!!! When we decide to return to Him- He runs down the road towards us.
Do you notice that the Prodigal Son has not even said his speech yet, and his Dad is hugging Him- mud, pigs slop and all!!! So, when I turn towards Him, when I prepare the speech of what I am going to say, that’s what God does to us
Then the father calls out to his servants, “prepare a feast! My son who was lost, who had wandered away has come home. Let us celebrate. Everything I have is his.”
That’s what God does for us. Celebrates our return. Celebrates us coming home to Him.
This brings me hope for I may not have run off with the family jewels, but I have dishonoured my Father, not lived the way I should, gossiped about my friends, my work colleagues, got angry unreasonably, not even spent time with Him and found other things more important. Made other things my God, – basically not living the way I should.
Sometimes we reflect and make a choice to come home before we get to wallow in the pig’s mud and sometimes, we are so stubborn, so proud, that we sit in the pig’s slop for a while.
But always the Father is looking for us, waiting with open arms for our return.
The father in this story loved his son (or daughter) with an unconditional love and wanted a relationship with him(her). This relationship is expressed by talking, acting and showing that love to each other. Our Father in Heaven wants that relationship with us.
That’s basically what our prayer is – an expression of our love relationship with our Heavenly Dad.
Have we been talking to Him lately? Listening to Him. Loving Him? Only you can answer that question. Lent is the time to turn back to Him and run into His open arms.
PRAYER: Lord, here I am. This is me in all my imperfections and I need you today. You are always running towards me to welcome me back and to give me everything that is yours! Thank you that you love me so much and want to be in relationship with me wherever I am at and wherever I have been. May I learn to love you more and talk with you more starting this Lent. Amen.