Loving a Prodigal

Judy Douglass will pray for prodigals everywhere during She Loves Out Loud prayer movement in February.

Judy Douglass at her book signing event. September 17, 2019.

By Nancy Flory Published on November 25, 2019

On February 15, 2020, She Loves Out Loud prayer movement will be hosted by churches and small groups nationwide. It is a time for women to pray in unity for the healing of hearts, for the future of children and for America. Started by Diane Strack, She Loves Out Loud will host Christian leaders at strategic locations across the U.S. For more information, visit SheLovesOutLoud.org.

The Stream is profiling some of the women — women like you and me — who will be taking part in what is destined to be a powerful and profound day.

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“I love my prodigal,” writes author Judy Douglass, wife of Campus Crusade for Christ International’s and CRU’s president Steve Douglass. “But often it’s not easy to love a prodigal. Our love is tested and stretched. Unappreciated and questioned. Not returned — even thrown back in our face. We grow weary and discouraged.” Judy’s newest book, When You Love a Prodigal: 90 Days of Grace for the Wilderness, was released earlier this year.

Judy waited a long time to see answers to prayer for her adopted son, Josh. Fifteen long years. “I call it a wilderness journey because when it’s really bad, it’s a real wilderness,” Judy told The Stream in an interview. For a time, she and her husband thought their son would end up in jail or dead because of the choices he was making.

Judy’s solution? Ask people to pray for her prodigal. “We started praying and we asked other people to pray for him. … we decided to pray for other people who had children making destructive decisions, or anybody who had a loved one doing that. That was the founding of an online prayer ministry called Prayer for Prodigals.” Her prayers were answered and now Josh is “in a good place.” Now every June 2nd is a worldwide prodigal prayer day.

Why Prayer is Important

Prayer is important, says Judy, because we’re told to pray. “It’s commanded,” she explains. “Paul tells us we should pray always, we should pray without ceasing. We should take all our requests to God. And so we have instruction.”

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Prayer is also a time of communion with God. “God invites us to come. He says, ‘Come to my throne of grace. … Come be with me and let’s talk.'” God wants time and conversation with us. It was a revelation for Judy. “What an incredible thing.”

Prayer is not bringing a list to God Judy explains. “It’s not like, ‘well, I’ve had my two minutes with God, now I’m going to have the rest of my life.’ No, we make Him a part of it by thanking Him every day, by praising Him for something, by acknowledging that He’s there meeting our needs … whatever is going on. He says ‘Let’s talk about it.’ Prayer is such an important thing for an ongoing, meaningful, deep relationship with God. Prayer is how it happens.”

Judy says that prayer is the “work of God” done on our knees. Then we find out what happened. 

We think we’ve got our work to do — whether it’s personal work or our job or kingdom work — we’ve got our work to do and we ask God to bless it. But I believe what we do is we come to Him and we bring the work to Him, whatever we need to do — the work or the family needs or anything. But the work of God, what He wants to do in this world and in our lives, we get the work done on our knees and then we’ve got to find out what He’s doing as a result.

She Loves Out Loud

Judy is excited about joining with She Loves Out Loud and looks forward to seeing the fruit of those prayers. She would like to see “a deeper, ongoing, moment-by-moment relationship with God for all those who are participating.” She wants it to be more than an activity. It should be a way of life. Judy also wants to see healing, repentance where that’s needed and working together instead of being divisive. “We are the means by which [God’s] love gets tangibly expressed. … God’s saying to us, in this case, His daughters, ‘There’s a whole world out there and I love them and I need you to be the channels of my love.'”

She Loves Out Loud is “the kind of thing people can get excited about,” says Judy. “I know so many women who want to help and they look at the needs and they [ask] ‘what do I do? How do I do that?’ And many get into prayer groups that meet regularly.” 

“When God’s love flows through us we’re going to do some things. We’re going to see people in ways we haven’t seen them before. And the kinds of needs will vary. From things like homelessness to many other opportunities. The ministry I mainly get involved in is with people who love prodigals — who have someone in their family or close to them who is breaking their heart by the choices they’re making. And we get to love them with our prayers but then we can love them in other ways as well. That’s the kinds of things I hope is going to come from this.”

She Loves Out Loud “has the potential to have a major impact on our nation,” Judy explains. “I’m excited and I hope many will join in and be a part.”

 

Nancy Flory is an associate editor at The Stream. You can follow her @NancyFlory3, and follow The Stream @Streamdotorg.

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