40 Days of Prayer 2024: Day 35

Today is Day 35, and our last day on the practice of generosity. So let’s make it a good one!

(You can catch up on Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12, Day 15, Day 17, Day 18, Day 19, Day 20, Day 21, Day 22, Day 23, Day 24, Day 25, Day 26, Day 27 Day 28, Day 29, Day 30, Day 33, Day 34 if you missed them)

You are always with me and everything I have is yours

We all know the story of the Prodigal Son (you can read Jack’s excellent article on this here). Let’s jump in at the end:

Luke 15:20-31

“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.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate.24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

If we come across an attribute of God that makes Him seem too good to be true, that’s likely an indication that it is indeed true. God is so good—infinitely better than we can possibly imagine.

As we complete our time on the practice of generosity, let’s spend some time in this passage.

This parable shows us so much about our Father. Both the younger son’s actions and the Father’s response would have shocked the audience. The perspective of the older son, though, is one the audience would have understood easily. And although we’ve heard this story a thousand times, that’s probably true of us as well. Jack would say that we naturally tend to want mercy for ourselves and justice for others.

The younger son believes that he is no longer worthy of being a son because of his behavior. But the Father’s perspective is far different. The Father has been watching for him, waiting, and when He sees his lost son, He runs to him. He immediately restores His son and prepares a feast to celebrate. How amazingly generous of this Father!

A moment ago, this son had hoped to beg to return, not as a son but as a servant. But his Father tells a different story! He calls for a robe, the signet ring, and sandals for his feet—all marks of sonship, all marks of redemption. The Father sees a story that has turned from death to life, a story that tells of His son’s return and being reconciled to Him once again. This is the story the Father is in. I love a good redemption arc!

Now, how about the older son? His perspective is quite different. This is not the story he wanted to be in. He is angry and refuses to celebrate. He has been there working hard—slaving, in his own words, for his Father. Why has he even worked this hard if his brother can behave so shamefully and be celebrated? Not only celebrated but restored? The older son has a different view of sonship as well. He is a son because of how good he has been—and being good hasn’t been fun, rewarding, or easy. He is angry at how unfair this all is. (Hint: grace is wildly, remarkably unfair!)

And the Father’s response cuts through all the false stories the son has believed.

My son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.

These are not the words of a slave driver. The Father doesn’t chastise the older son for his accusations. These are the tender words of a loving Father reorienting the perspective of His child.

My son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.

The older son hasn’t earned his position with his Father through his good works or his sacrifices. He begrudges his brother reconciling with their Father and the party. He begrudges his Father’s radical generosity to his brother. But can he see that this generosity has been offered to him as well this whole time? All he had to do was receive his Father’s generosity.

Now, as with the younger son, the older son has the opportunity to keep the perspective he had before or to choose to see himself the way his Father sees Him.

Both sons must set aside their own stories about what being a child means and accept their Father’s perspective of them.

And the same is true for us. Whether you are more like the younger son or the older, our Father longs to be radically generous to you. He is the kind of Father who throws parties for sons who do not deserve a party. He pours out gifts that aren’t deserved simply because He is generous.

You see, you are always with Him and everything He has is yours.

Pray together:

Father, we are so grateful for your abundant grace. We are so grateful for your blessings and love we could never earn. We pray for each person who is returning to you, and for each one who has been with you the whole time, but hasn’t known your heart of Fatherhood. We ask for a deep revelation of your generosity for each person reading this. Help each one accept your perspective of what being a child of God means. Help each one receive the blessings you have had ready for them that has been theirs all along. In the name of Jesus, we pray together. Amen.

♥ Samantha