In nearly 50 years of ministry, I have witnessed the extreme agony and concern of pastors, friends and family members of backsliders. While evangelizing across this nation, I have looked into the tear-filled eyes of so many who have asked me to pray for their wayward children, grandchildren and spouses. While preaching on the subject of intercession, I have seen expressions of compassion and burdened individuals for those they love. During the altar services that followed my preaching, I have heard the sounds of travail and intercession. While writing this ECHOgram, in my memory I hear the crescendo of their voices once again and it brings rivers of tears to my eyes.
Why do we carry burdens for these prodigals? First of all, we love them dearly and want them to be saved. The awful cost of eternal damnation and torment separated from God weighs heavily upon us. The hopelessness associated with being eternally lost compels us to intercede for them. We recall when they were living victoriously for God and can visualize them praising God in worship in days gone by. We remember the pitfalls and snares that lured them away. We know they are not happy because the pain is reflected in their eyes. We are burdened because we see the wasted potential of unfulfilled lives where they could use their talents for God.
The Lord is married to the backsliders. The Parable of the Prodigal Son demonstrates the tremendous compassion of the Lord for them. He is longsuffering and merciful. He is waiting for them to come to themselves and walk that same road back to Calvary.
No one can understand the impact of redemption more than those of us who have found the Lord in the New Birth experience. While joyful and thankful, though I think of those who once knew God as us but have backslid for whatever reasons.
Pray for backsliders to come home before it is too late. Jesus is coming soon. They may die from disease or an accident before they return.
Pray they will come to their senses. God will not violate the human will. They must make the decision to come home. The prodigal did not start home until he came to himself.
Pray that God will deal with them. Even though He will not violate their human will, we can pray they will feel conviction and the drawing of God.
Pray for mercy for backsliders. We are not asking for judgment. We must pray that God will keep them from destroying their lives in sin before they come home. The high cost of backsliding can be severe. Broken homes, health issues from drugs and alcohol, loss of career and other horrendous costs that multiply in a tragic heap of human debris.
Pray for the Body of Christ that believers will not fall prey to the attitude and spirit of the elder brother. We must open our arms to them also in mercy when they come home.
Pray that loved ones and friends will not become weary in well doing and give up on them. As long as there is life, we will keep on interceding for them. God doesn't give up easily but is longsuffering and we must be also.
Pray for backsliders of our brothers and sisters in Christ. We want to have a burden as if it were our loved ones that were away from God. Our brethren that have backsliders in their families carry burdens and we must bear their load along with them.
Pray for a fresh renewed burden for backsliders. The numbers of those who have once known God are staggering indeed. Our communities and cities are filled with them.
Pastor Denzil Holman
River of Life UPC
Western District Prayer Coordinator