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August 21, 2017
"The Prayers of the Prodigal"
Pastor J.R. Damiani

In the 15th Chapter of Luke Jesus presents three parables. In each there is a story of lost and found: the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son. When something or someone is lost they need to be found. Jesus came for that purpose - to seek and to save the lost. Luke shows Him as the Seeking Savior. The shepherd went out into the wilderness to find the lost sheep, the woman turned on all of the lights and searched diligently till she found the coin – but in the case of the lost son, the Father waited for the boy to come to himself - to turn towards him in response to the love of the father that reached out over the miles. He said, "I will arise and go to my father". He knew the father's love would receive him – for God so loved the world.
 
Each story ends with a happy ending, each one starts with a mistake, a wrong turn, a bad decision. As we look at this third parable today I want to focus on the two prayers, or the two requests that the son made. The first was: give me. Verse 12 says, "Father, give me – give the portion of goods that is mine!" It's mine by inheritance and I want it now." We pray give me prayers perhaps too often. Dad, give me so that I may have a good time – and a good time he had. He wasted his substance in riotous living. Then, sadder and wiser, he prayed a second prayer: make me. Thank God it led him home.
 
We live in a day when too many think of what they can get. Christians have developed the attitude that God owes them something. He owes us health and profit, he owes us guardian angels and protection, and too often they use it wrongfully and expect God to chalk it off to experience without consequences. The gimme gimme Christian life always leads to shipwreck. I don't know when the boy woke up to what he had become. Perhaps when he woke up one morning and was eyeball to eyeball to a hog. The road to these hog pens that are owned by citizens are well lighted and highly recommended. You get the feeling that you haven't lived until you taste the good life. You don't have to look hard to find these Hog Heavens. You reach for more and get less and less. There's no satisfaction.
 
That's why the second prayer of the prodigal is so beautiful. Father, I have sinned – make me. That prayer starts all of Heaven in motion towards you. That change of attitude and direction starts the restoration process rolling. Repentance must come before salvation. You must come to the place where you say: I am wrong; Father I have sinned; I'm the one who is in trouble; I thought that God owed me something, but now I know that I owe Him everything; I have an obligation to my creator to live my life in His service. Father, make me, melt me, mold me and fill me. You'll get much better treatment as a servant than you did as a rebel.
 
"The wages of sin is death. The Gift of God is Eternal Life." Romans 6:23. Food is better than famine. Love is better than loneliness. Laughter is better than misery. Forgiveness is sweet music. A robe is far better than rags. The Father can handle your life if you'll let Him.
 
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