You might have heard about the amateur magician who, while practicing new tricks in his living room, accidentally turned his wife into a La-Z-Boy recliner.

He tried all the magic words he knew to turn her back, but nothing worked. In a panic, and not knowing what else to do, he rushed her to the hospital.

The doctors ran all kinds of tests while the magician paced back and forth in the waiting room. Finally, a doctor walked out.

“How’s my wife?” he asked nervously. “Is she alright?”

“She’s comfortable,” he replied.

Most children who have ever read a fairy tale have dreamed of being able to use magic words to get what they want. While magic doesn’t work, words often do. Sometimes all we have to do to get what we want is to ask.

The Bible tells the story of a young man who asked his father to give him his inheritance early. Having gotten it, the young fellow then left home and went to a faraway country where he wasted all his money throwing wild parties for his fair-weather friends. When the money was gone, so were those “friends.” 

The young man was literally starving. He took a job working for a pig farmer, thinking he might at least gnaw on some of the husks tossed to the animals.

In such dire circumstances, his thoughts turned to home and to his father. The young man thought how disappointed his father must be in him. He thought his father may not want him as a son any longer. But, maybe … just maybe … his father might be willing to take him in as a servant. Maybe, he thought, some appropriate words might convince his father to do just that. The young fellow rehearsed what he would say:

“Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of they hired servants” (Luke 15:18-19).

As the young man approached his family home, his father caught sight of him and ran to him as fast as could, hugging and kissing him.

Then the young man started reciting his planned lines, but his father interrupted, turning to his servants and telling them to bring the best robe and put it on his son, and put a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet. And the father told the servants to prepare a great feast to celebrate his son’s homecoming.

That young man had rehearsed words that he had hoped might magically cause his father to show compassion toward him.

Like that young man, known to the world as the prodigal son, we have a Father in Heaven who is waiting, watching for his wayward children to come back to Him. He longs for that day.

Let me share some words that others have used: “Father, I know that I have sinned against you, and that I have made a mess of my life. I am so very sorry that I have disappointed You, and I ask for your forgiveness. I trust fully in Jesus, knowing that He died on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins. I now ask Jesus to come into my heart, to make me a Christian, to save me from my sins. In Jesus’ name, amen.”


Such words, spoken to Almighty God in prayer, have the power to transform, not into a La-Z-Boy recliner, but into a born-again believer. Try it. You’ll see. And, by all means, let me know you did so by sending an email to the address below.

Roger Alford offers words of encouragement to residents of America’s heartland. Reach him at

Recommended for you