Read: Luke 15: 11-32
Research out of the US is showing that Gen Z, our current teenagers, are the least Christian generation ever (Barna). Australia seems to be in the same position, with many young people walking away from the church, and oftentimes, God. Just a quick survey of parents in their 50’s and 60’s will show you that many are waiting for their prodigals to come back to Jesus.
I was one of those prodigals. At the age of 19 I had walked away from church. I was aware that God existed, but I believed that He was too good, and I was too bad, and I was not walking with Him in His ways. Drinking too much, sleeping with my girlfriend, and entertaining thoughts of suicide, I had hit rock bottom. It was in this space when a man I had never met came up to me in a bar. He told me that God loved me so much and that all I needed was to come back to Him.
“I am living proof that the love of God can reach anyone in any situation…”
My life changed forever from that point. The verse, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8), became ever so real to me. How could God love me in my filth? I began to realise that His love was not conditional on my performance, but on my status as His son.
We see this also with the prodigal son in Luke 15.
The son finds himself at the end of himself, hitting rock bottom. He decides to return to his father in the hope that he might be hired as a servant, only to be greeted with a feast, for he is a son, and nothing could take that away from him. In this moment he too must surely have realised that even in his sin and rebellion, his father loved him.
Many in Gen Z have walked away from their faith; so too have many in the generations above them. For a vast majority, they did not even have a faith to begin with, yet the Father is still waiting at the gate.
“I always had praying grandparents and praying parents.”
I am living proof that the love of God can reach anyone in any situation, no matter how dirty and unworthy they may feel. On that night in that bar, I made a decision to turn back to Jesus. I went back to church, and several years later, I entered into ministry. I now find myself more in love with God than ever; I’ve ministered all over the world and seen hundreds if not thousands of people decide to follow Jesus through one-on-one and mass evangelism, the vast majority of these being young people.
Behind the narrative of my journey, I always had praying grandparents and praying parents. There is hope for anyone and everyone to come back to Jesus. Please join me in contending for this generation of prodigals to come home to the Father. One prayer, one encounter with a stranger or one moment of realisation can be the turning point that brings them home.
For those that have walked away from the Lord.
- Pray that as they hit rock bottom, that they would cry out to their Father God and choose to return to Him.
- Pray that God would soften their hearts to respond to invitations to come back to Jesus.
- Pray for protection over them, God’s grace and mercy, that they may have more opportunities to return to Jesus. Pray that death would not take them before they decide to surrender to Jesus.
For boldness in evangelism.
- Pray that Christians would be bold in sharing the love of Jesus with strangers.
- Pray that Christians would be bold in sharing the love of Jesus with their friends and family.
- Pray for divine opportunities for yourself, to share Jesus with the prodigals.
For the hearts of Fathers (and Mothers)
- That we (they) would continue to wait at the gate and not grow weary or lose heart.
- That God would bring peace and comfort in challenging times.
- That God would teach us how to pray.
- That we would speak to the prodigals as the Spirit leads, and guide them home.