A Prayer about a Third Kind of Son

Both this prayer and the one prior spoke to me – as do many of Scotty’s prayers.

And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. (Luke 15: 20)

Heavenly Father, I’m not beginning my day in a faraway country, derelict and destitute. Though I’m capable of anything, I’m not sitting here filled with shame for squandering an inheritance, and neither am I out in a field feeding somebody else’s pigs.

I’m in a comfortable chair, sipping a fresh cup of coffee, surrounded by more than my share of creature comforts. And yet I’m just as much in need of fellowship with you as any of your broken children . . . so here I come. Because the gospel is true, I bring you my busy, bland, somewhat disconnected heart. I feel like a third son right now. I’m not struggling with the extremes of either of your boys in Luke 15. I’m not acting out in destructive “fleshy” ways, and I’m not presently wallowing in the ugliness of my self-righteousness. I’m just somewhere in between. I still hear and love the wonderful music of the gospel, but I just don’t feel like dancing right now.

So, Father, as I come to you today, I take great comfort in knowing that I’ll always find you filled with compassion for me, even when my feelings are not fully engaged with you. As I saunter toward you, you’re always running toward me in Jesus. As I’m glad to see you, you see me from afar and are thrilled at the sighting.

When I’m not as inclined to lift my arms in praise to you, your embrace is the most predictable element in my day. You don’t just put your hand on my shoulder; you throw your arms around me in the gospel. And though my affection for you wavers, you will shower me with multiple kisses all day long, for you love your children with an everlasting, unwavering love.

Because the gospel is true, I’ll seek to live to your glory today, neither by sight nor by my feelings but by the faith you’ve given me to trust and love you. It’s not my grasp of you but your grasp of me in the gospel that matters the most. It’s not the enjoyment of my peace with you but the assurance that you are at peace with me that is the anchor for my soul. I pray in Jesus’ wonderful and merciful name. Amen.

Scotty Smith, Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith

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