We Cry Out for Prodigals

How often have we read through the story of the prodigal son?  It’s captured in song and in story book.  For those of us who have grown up in church, we could probably recite it and have heard sermons on all different aspects.

I can’t help but feel that sometimes, though, we disconnect from it.  We miss the heart of God as shown in this story.  We forget that the heart of God is a heart we, ourselves, are supposed to emulate.  

We get too busy preaching at the prodigals or the older sons.  We use it as a preventative measure- “see, if you run off on God, thinking you know better, you will have no friends, no food and will have to come back and God is just so good, He will take you back.”

We act like some uninvolved third party to this whole story.

When someone ‘backslides’ (as we say in Christianese), we can get this holier than thou attitude of, “Go for it.  Some day, when you are eating rotting pig food, you’ll get it and I hope you come back.  I’ll be waiting here when you do.”

Or we turn around and tell Christians not to be like that older brother.  We should be happy when drug addicts come back home or when porn addicts find grace.  We should be thrilled.  Those who grew up with a Bible in their mouths should delight in knowing that the Kingdom is growing.

But the story of the prodigal son is not about who we shouldn’t be.

It’s about who we should be.  It is about who we are supposed to be.  We are supposed to be like Christ, not just an optimistic older brother.  Our hearts are supposed to mirror the heart of God.

So, when the father is standing on the road, pleading for the lost to come home- that’s what we’re supposed to be doing.  We are supposed to be crying out for prodigals, because we used to be prodigals.  We are supposed to be standing, arms open wide, as an image of the love and grace of Christ.

As a whole, the body of Christ is not doing that.  This is why sin is so alienating within the church. We emphasize God’s grace to evangelize the lost.  We tell them that no matter where they have been, they can come to God.  No matter what they have done, God loves them.

Here’s the thing, though, the prodigal son in the story is just that- a prodigal son.  He knew his father’s love, mercy, and provision.  He left that for a life on his own.  The prodigal son most closely resembles those the church is too quick to write off- the Christians who have tarnished their faith.

Our hearts should break for prodigals.  Our hearts should break for our brothers and sisters in Christ who walked away from the safe harbor of His grace and now find themselves eating scraps.  We should be standing in the street, crying out for them, waiting for them, begging for them to come home.  That is the heart of Christ.

We should be going out and finding them, reminding them of the love and mercy of their Father.  We should be joyfully anticipating porn addicts and adulterers and drug addicts coming home.  We should be waiting for them!

We cry out for prodigals, because we were once prodigals.

We cry out for prodigals because He cries out for prodigals.


  1. As I was reading this, the quote “The church is the only army that shoots its wounded” came to mind…soberingly true.

    Having been among the wounded, I am praying that God would change my heart to see people the way He does.

  2. that’s right! 🙂

    Well said Jessica. On the other hand, even though we all wanted to do that, the devil is always attacking us through giving us so many things to do. It make our minds deviate from what we should think. It seems like “I would love to do that throwing open arms to those who came back and finding those who are still lost but I’ve got a lot of mess in my life that’s still have to be cleared.” In that case, we should also focus on praying for one another. So that, the Lord will renew our strengths and continue to walk on His will.

    I have a great time reading your writings Jessica and I am so blessed reading them. I hope you’ll also write something about “what prayer could do at all times”.

    Thank you very much and God bless you more 🙂

  3. Hello,Jessica,first I want to thank You about this blog, I found it through Google.com,I wanted to know, how to fight with dirty fantasies which ALWAYS lead me to fall and i found covenanteye and your article there which lead me here,thank You so much,thank You about Your faith,real faith and trust to God,when i read Your posts i am full with joy,because You really know Him,You really believe Him,You really have found forgivness and freedom.It is a huge encouragement to me.Thank You that You write this blog.It helps.
    I am that prodigal who once was in church and then i lost.It was big church and i wasn’t active,i wasn’t one of them who are full with joy,always smiling,i was shy and still i am.Always frightened and scared,ugly looking and poor.And always be alone,it’s hard for me to contact with others and i don’t allow anybody come closer to me. Shy but also full with pride,self-centered. I think nobody didn’t notice that i was there and then i wasn’t:-(
    But now after 7 years i wonder how easy christians let go away their sisters and brothers,the same story is about my sister,except, she was active in church,she didn’t isolate herself from others,but nobody didn’t ask where she was,why she left.And that is strange, because in Christ we are one body,it is like christians say bye-bye to their leg or arm,they don’t need you, we can live without leg or arm.I don’t say that it wasn’t my fault or my sisters fault that we gave up,but it is strange how easy they let us go away.
    Sometimes (even yesterday}i dream what God wants me to do,how can i serve Him,and this is the thing what shines in my thoughts-to find those brothers and sisters who once were in church and now their gone. And today i read Your post and i understand that it is not just my thought, it is something that Jesus care about. Thank you, i am so thankful that God let me find Your blog,because You talk about Your relationships with Christ so honest,so deep,so real,that i can see and feel- behind this name-Jesus-stands real,alive person,who is interested in every human. Thank You!
    P.S. Sorry for my language,i live in Latvia.