Pleading for Salvation?
Luann Prater

“…for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:9 (NIV)

Kay was a prodigal. She had been stunningly beautiful, but now her beauty was hollow and worn. Downcast with shoulders slumped, she walked through the doors of her childhood church. The reaction of the congregation burned an image that remained in my young mind. Heads turned and steely whispers followed her as she made her way forward during the invitation. She fell to her knees at the altar. A group gathered around her and prayed for what seemed like an eternity. She slowly rose to her feet and was asked, “Did you pray through?” to which the weary wanderer replied, “I think so.”

I don’t remember ever seeing Kay back in church again.

“Pray through.” In my small town church this phrase was synonymous with striving, straining, and working to find grace and deliverance. When I became a prodigal myself and wanted desperately to find answers and deliverance, I remembered the forlorn look of Kay and decided to keep wandering. It just seemed easier than trying to “pray through” somehow.

Have you been wandering through life looking for answers? Do you long to return to the Father after being far away but hesitate, wondering what it will cost?

When coming “back home” we often have the same mentality as the prodigal son in Luke15:18-19, "’Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants (ESV).’” Feeling worn down and unworthy, we return to our Heavenly Father thinking we have to work like hired servants to earn our place.

After many years, I discovered that forgiveness and salvation aren’t chores for us to labor over. They are tremendous free gifts from an amazing God! How incredibly liberating to know that Jesus offers these to any and all who believe on His name.

Jesus says, “Come to me.” Period. It really isn’t any more complicated than that. He loves you. He has been waiting for you and He welcomes you with open arms. We don’t have to work for forgiveness or “pray through” like those well-meaning people in my childhood church felt the need to do. God’s heart for us is the same as the prodigal son’s father in Luke 15:20. “So he [the prodigal son] got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him” (NIV).

When you allow Jesus to walk through the doors of your heart, no pleading is necessary, only faith that His salvation and grace are your gifts.

Dear Lord, thank You for giving us the gift of salvation through Your Son Jesus Christ. Today I come to You and believe that You are my Savior. I ask You to come into my heart and forgive me. Help me to live in the freedom that You promised to give. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Jesus?

Broken into Beautiful: How God Restores a Wounded Heart by Gwen Smith

Confessions of a Good Christian Girl: The Secrets Women Keep and the Grace that Saves Them by Tammy Maltby

Visit Luann’s Blog

Application Steps:

If you don’t know Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, ask Him into your heart today.

If you are a believer and have seen weary wanderers walk through the doors of your church, show them unconditional love. Be the grace-filled Jesus with skin on to them.

Do I understand God’s grace; His unmerited favor towards me, His daughter?

Who in my world needs a kind word or touch from me?

Have wandered away from home - even in some small area of my life - and need to return to the Father?

Power Verses:
John 6:37, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” (NIV)

Hebrews 10:22, “…let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” (NIV)

Matthew 11: 28-30, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (NIV)

© 2009 by Luann Prater. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Simply BEAUTIFUL! Thank you for this post.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wondered if you put my name in todays devotional just for me, or was it just a coincidence?
I am going through a really hard time and have times where i feel God is a million miles away.
My husband left us two and a half years and now he has started divorce proceedings.
I believed that like the prodical son, he would come back to God and us.
It is very painful. Then last week a close friend of mine died of cancer leaving her husband behind and two boys.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pray through in my small church means ..... did you feel like you got in touch with God. It is to you still feel like God is far off? When the prodigal son came back to the father he turned his back on the world and was willing to do anything the Father required. God asks for us to give Him our whole heart. He asks for our love and devotion. The Bible says "If you love me keep my commandments." Repentance isn't something that earns us salvation but it is a necessary step in the process. When we turn from our wicked ways we still have not the ability to close the gap between us and God. He has to do this story and in life our coming to God in repentance allows Him to run the rest of the way. Some who go to the altar have a conversation with God. They bow at the altar and in essence they are that son who see home afar off but then they remember that returning there will require them to give up their will and their foot loose do as I wish approach to life and they sadly turn around to face life away from the Father. They think their idea of "freedom" is better than the reality of freedom they could possess living with the Father. Some believing this never return.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is so wonderful that God has done all the work and made it so easy. Yet we make it so hard. I appreciate your sharing. This is wonderful!!

I grew up in the same church that "Kay" did. The one that judged and whispered and shook their heads and fingers. Although the term "praying through" wasn't used, the same message was related to me. I must grovel, beg, plead and endlessly beat myself up for my sins and hope that God would forgive me.

The hellfire and brimstone of the Southern Baptist church I grew up in taught God wouldn't love you if...if you stood on top of the table (yes I actually heard a teacher say that to a little boy). If God wouldn't love the little boy on the table, how could he love me, the stupid bad girl my dad said I was? The little girl who took something that wasn't hers and made her sister cry?

They taught that God was judgmental, fierce, angry, punishing and that his forgiveness was conditional on behavior and/or appearance.

They never taught me about Grace, even though they sang about it.

I was the prodigal like Kay for many years. I came back to the church and am slowing learning what grace really is. But I feel embarrassed that I'm in my 50s and am more like a new believer in my heart even though my head can quote scripture and is very knowledgeable about the Bible.

Devotions like "Pleading for Salvation" helps get the Word out of my head and healing in my heart.

May the Lord bless you and continue to use to shine his light and his love.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That story could have been me you were talking about. Loved it.

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