“Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
I love this chapter in the Bible. Three stories and the common theme in all of them is clear, like every story is focused on the one.
The first is one sheep out of a hundred. The second as one coin out of ten. The third about one son, although the second son clearly ties into the meaning of that story also. But in every story, the one is first lost and then found. And in every story, there is exuberant joy and celebration when the one is found.
God graciously seeks and saves the lost. We were once lost and now are found.
So you put it all together and the collective message is clear, God is passionate about the one. About finding the one. And that’s remarkable when you think about it. Like, God has a universe to run, galaxies to uphold, governments to rule, more than 7 billion people to sustain. Yet the Bible doesn’t say that heaven rejoices over these cosmic mysteries, these universal realities. Instead, something glorious happens in heaven when one person who was separated from God in sin is restored to God in love.
Is that not awesome? I mean, what makes heaven happy? When one who was lost is found. That’s what causes heaven, angels in heaven to rejoice. Oh, just let this soak into your own life and then think about the lives of people around you.
As we pray, God, I praise you for seeking after me. I pray this on behalf of others who are listening right now who know Jesus, who are your children. We praise you, our Father, for seeking after us, for finding us. Amidst everything else you have to do in the universe, you sought me. You came to me. You drew me to yourself. You showered your love on me, your mercy on me. You, by your Spirit, opened your eyes so that I might see Jesus and be saved from my sin.
Thank you for finding my lost and sinful soul. Thank you for making me your son. Thank you for the rejoicing in heaven that happened when I, by your grace, turned from my sin and myself and trusted in Jesus as Savior and Lord. Thank you.
God, I pray that prayer of gratitude on behalf of everybody else who’s listening to this, who has experienced your grace in this way. Thank you for finding them. May they realize in a fresh way, even right now, that they have been sought by you and found by you personally. They’re one who you sought after and found and heaven rejoiced over. May they feel your love in a fresh way today.
And then, God, we pray that you would help us in our lives today to be a reflection of your seeking love. Oh, God, please use our lives today to show your compassion for the one. God, amidst a sea of people around us, help us to see faces, help us to see names, individuals, and know you love them. And help us to love them as a reflection of your love for them. Help us to go to them and to look for ways we can care for them and ultimately share the Gospel with them. God, we pray that you would use our lives to lead individual people to be found who are lost right now.
God, please may it be so. We pray for friends. We pray for family members. We pray for coworkers. We pray for people around us in the community, cities where we live. God, please help us to see them as the one, to go after them as the one, and to show that you are seeking after them. And we pray that they would be found. We pray they’d be found by you, by your grace, that you would draw them to relationship with you.
And we pray that for people right around us and far from us. God, we pray for the Kasab people in Pakistan, 1.1 million of them. No followers of Jesus that we know of. God, please. They’re spread out in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal. Send somebody, send somebody to be a reflection of your seeking love to them. Please, oh God, please raise up workers to go to the Kasab in Pakistan or India or Bangladesh or Nepal.
Please, oh God, please show them your love for them. Please cause heaven to rejoice over their being found, who are lost right now, who are separated from you by their sin. God, please draw them into your family. Show your love as Father to them, we pray.
God, I read this story in Luke 15 and I realized there’s only one thing worse than being lost. What’s worse is being lost when no one is trying to find you. And so, God, we pray that you would help us to be a reflection of your seeking and finding love to people right around us and peoples around the world who no one is working right now to find with the Gospel.
In Jesus’ name, we pray, amen.
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