Christian Living


3 Ways to Pray for Your Prodigal Child

Having a son or daughter who has decided to walk away from God, the Church, or even both can be one of the most heartbreaking things a Christian parent experiences. Whether it happens gradually or all at once, there’s a potent mix of emotions that everyone feels. Blame. Guilt. Frustration. Sadness. Sometimes even anger.

In the famous story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), we're often encouraged to place ourselves in the position of the prodigal son as we consider how God has welcomed us home, given us what we didn’t deserve and restored us to himself, as children of his household.

But, what of the father?

When your child walks away from the faith that you tried your best to raise them in, we suddenly get a glimpse of the story from another angle. What was this experience like for the father? Did he too have sleepless nights, wondering what he could’ve done differently? Did he also say things he wished he could take back? Did he blame himself?

Prayer is the most powerful force in the universe – and is one of the things that we can do, as we wait for God to stir the prodigal’s heart. It can be hard to know what to say, so here are three points for prayer that may help shape your prayer time.

1. Pray that their eyes would be divinely opened.

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:4...

"Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God."

Your child isn't bad or wrong and it wasn’t your fault. We have an enemy, who is actively working. Their spiritual blindness comes from him. But we have power "to demolish strongholds and everything that sets itself up against the knowledge of Christ." We can act against this – through prayer and through Christ.

2. Pray that they would have friendships that would point them to God.

It’s a sad truth, but often we are open to a friend yet closed to family. Your conversations about God might be a well-worn path that just goes the same way, but a Christian friend could take it in a different direction. Ask God to send Christians into the path of your son or daughter as friends that may lead them back to Him.

3. Pray that Proverbs 22:6 would be true for your family.

"Train a child in the way they should go; even when they are old, they will not depart from it."

God’s promises are true and His word can be trusted. Even when you can’t see it before your eyes, let this verse instill faith and hope in your heart. Who knows what tomorrow may bring?

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