We should all be familiar with the story of the prodigal son who took his inheritance and squandered it in a distant land.
The story has a number of dimensions to it, and one of those dimensions is the story of repentance.
We often hear that repentance is simply a change of mind, and the literal definition certainly implies that. However, how does that change of mind take place? In the story of the prodigal, we find an interesting moment that will help us.
“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!’” (Luke 15:17)
After having lived for the flesh and losing all, and now finding himself feeding pigs and desiring the food they ate, there came a moment in this young man's life when “he came to himself.”
I spoke with a man a few years ago who had been living the gay lifestyle for years and finally decided to transition into a woman. He had a live-in boyfriend and was in the midst of the transition when one day he simply “came to himself.” All of a sudden, his eyes were opened, and he looked down at himself and said, "What have I done?’" At that moment, he called on the Lord, was born again and left the homosexual lifestyle.
I believe that true repentance involves a moment when there is an awakening as if from a stupor or sleep. The deception of sin and darkness is pulled back, and perhaps for the first time, we see ourselves clearly. We see the need, and we remember the Father.
When we pray for the lost, one of the ways we can pray is that they would come to themselves. In Acts 2 when Peter was preaching on the day of Pentecost, it says the listeners were pricked in their hearts and cried out, “What must we do to be saved?” Any number of things can create this profound moment. It can be the preaching of the Word or the memory of the Father we once knew. I believe that in every person there is a wake up button that can be activated to cause them to come to themselves. Let’s pray that the wake up button in those we pray for would be activated and that they would come to the Father.