“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need […] When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he 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.” Luke 15:13-14, 17-20, NIV

I am a former prodigal. In my teenage years, I had a best friend who got saved; I didn’t.
She walked toward Jesus; I walked away. She openly sought Him; I openly rejected Him. She said she’d pray for me, and I aggressively rejected her prayers…thankfully, she didn’t listen to me.

Is your story a prodigal story, too?

If it is, then you know on a deep, soul level how incredible God’s mercy, grace, salvation and sacrifice really are. We have put off the old man and put on the new man; we are a new creation in Christ. If you are a former prodigal, you have also been given the gift of a unique opportunity to extend love, compassion, and prayer to those you meet who are still in need of the Lord’s salvation.

And what better place to pray for prodigals than in your school?

God orders all things—which means that your roster of students is no accident. If you’re like me, you can probably name off the top of your head at least five students you see every day who you can clearly see are headed in the opposite direction of Jesus. It is the Holy Spirit working in you that gives you that spiritual discernment to recognize those lost souls. That’s no accident—these students, these children, are precious souls created by God, whom He has destined for a purpose and a plan. These are eternal souls that you can pray for—even when they don’t know it and wouldn’t welcome it.

That’s what happened with my faithful friend. Despite my hostility born of the spiritual warfare between us, she faithfully prayed for me in secret every day for three years. And she continued to love me.

Ultimately, God answered her prayers: when I was ready for Christ, she was the one I recalled. She was the one I sought out, and she was the one who led me to salvation one night in the corner booth of a diner. She was faithful to pray for me, and God was faithful to respond in His perfect timing. Twenty-six years later, she is still my best friend and my eternal sister in Christ.

Never give up praying for the prodigals in your life, including your students. God is faithful.

Oh Lord, thank you for the incredible gift of salvation. Thank you that You are a God who never leaves even one behind; You are faithful to forgive us and to answer us when we call, despite how many times we have rejected You. Thank you for Your incredible mercy and love for us. Please remind me today to pray for the prodigals I see. Please remind me of how much You love them and wish to welcome them home with open arms. May I always remember the moment of my salvation; enable me through Your Holy Spirit to have Your heart for the lost people that I see every day. Help me to be faithful in praying for them. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.

Copyright Rhapsody Jordan-Parisi.

Rhapsody is a member and high school English teacher from North Carolina. She is passionate about helping struggling teachers strike a balance between success and sanity at her blog,

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Walking in the Opposite Spirit

3 Responses

  1. This was a terrific devotional. The fact that you were a prodigal and could express what that was like while comparing your life to your friend who was praying for you is a great comparison to visualize. Your devotional reminded me that I need to pray more consistently for both my friends and students whom are prodigals.
    Thanks for sharing your life, as well as your terrific devotional!

    1. Hi Scott, Thank you so much for your encouragement. I think it’s so important for us all to remember that while we ARE new creations in Christ when we accept His gift of salvation, we should also not forget where we came from: not in order to dwell in our old ways, old sin, or the condemnation of guilt, but so that we can relate to those who still need salvation and feel the urgency and importance of praying for them–knowing that no one is beyond the reach of God’s mighty hand. “The Lord isn’t slow about keeping his promises, as some people think he is. In fact, God is patient, because he wants everyone to turn from sin and no one to be lost” (2 Peter 3:9). I’m so happy that you were blessed by this devotional today; to God be the glory 🙂

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