Praying for Prodigals
“A certain man had two sons.” And so begins what we call Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son. The two boys seem different and character and interest. The younger we might call the black sheep of the family. He took his part of the family inheritance and walked away, seeking the good life. The older brother carried on as usual with the work at home.
What is a prodigal? Dictionary.com defines it as “a person who spends, or has spent, his or her money or substance with wasteful extravagance; spendthrift.” We also use the term to describe someone who has walked away from God and the church, a backslider. They have wasted their spiritual inheritance.
Many of us are praying to see a prodigal restored to his place in the family of God. We may not always understand their reasons for walking away – disillusionment, hurt, lost faith, or just the lure of the world – but we long to have them back with us. Often, the only thing we can do is pray they will eventually come to themselves and return home.
Sometimes the road home is long and lonely. One can only imagine the emotions a prodigal must feel as he makes his way back. Shame. Anticipation. Hesitancy. Questions. What will everyone think? Will they accept me back? Will they shunned me or look down on me? Will they forgive me? Can I fit in?
When praying for your prodigal, ask God to give you a specific scripture that you can pray and claim for your loved one. Here are other scriptures you may pray.
That he would come to himself and recognize his need to return home (Luke 15:17-18).
That he would repent and turn from his sins (Proverbs 28:13; Ezekiel 18:21; II Corinthians 7:10).
That he would remember God’s mercy (Psalm 34:18; Joel 2:13).
That he would experience spiritual hunger (Matthew 5:6; John 6:33-35).
That God would restore the joy of salvation (Psalm 51:12).
The prodigal did not immediately return to his father’s house. We don’t know how long he lingered in that faraway place until desperation turn his steps toward home. We must be persistent in our prayers and not grow weary while we pray and wait (Galatians 6:9). We also need to prepare ourselves to reach out with love, mercy, and forgiveness. Let’s run to meet them and welcome them home.
“But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him” (Luke 15:20).
Note: Mary Loudermilk of Hazelwood, Missouri, enjoys studying and teaching the Word of God. She is a feature writer for Reflections Magazine
Praying For Prodigals By Carla Calhoun
Almost everyone we talk to can somehow relate to having a prodigal in their lives.
There are so many emotions involved. We may feel guilt, anger, sorrow, shame, or regret as we watch them repeat the same sin over and over and continue to make bad choices. It’s very easy to become bitter but we must not succumb. We must realize God loves them even more than we do.
Keep praying; they are counting on us. Realize prayers are like missiles that can be aimed to intercept the dangers threatening our prodigal.
We can have hope that our children will return from the land of the enemy. God has not forgotten them. His plans are not annulled because our child is in a wayward state. Jeremiah 31:16-17 promises, “Refrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; for your work shall be rewarded, says the LORD, and they shall come back from the land of the enemy. There is hope in your future, says the LORD that your children shall come back to their own border” (NKJV).
Reject fear. An acronym for fear is “false evidence appearing real.” The enemy’s most effective weapon is deception. If we accept Satan’s lie that our child will never change, we have been duped by one of his oldest tricks. The enemy knows time is short and is working overtime. Be the devil’s worst nightmare! “Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses” (Nehemiah 4:14).
Embrace joy. It is a vital weapon in the spiritual war of intercession we are fighting. When our children decide to follow a path opposed to what we taught them, we can still rejoice and thank Him for what He has already done and what He will do. Joy is not based on feeling but knowing. Nehemiah 8:10 assures, “The joy of the LORD is your strength.”
Pray against doubt. Doubt puts our circumstance between us and God while faith puts God between us and our circumstances.
DOUBT= You – Circumstance – God
FAITH = You – God – Circumstance
Build a prayer team. Seek out a few people you can trust and who genuinely want to support you. Give them specific requests, share answers to prayer, and thank them.
Release guilt and shame. Let go of the desire to blame yourself, another person, or God for what has happened. Realize that worrying won’t do anything to help either you or them. Turn your worry into prayer.
Pray focused, specific prayers. Pray regularly for your child’s protection from illicit sex, addictions, false religions, and other destructive forces. Ask for protection from temptation, evil, people who do evil, negative influences, Satan, and wrong thinking. Trust God to use their bad experiences to open their eyes to truth and guide them toward wiser decisions.
Our greatest influence on our sons and daughters is to reflect God’s grace, truth, and love. As long as our child is alive, there is hope. Cling to the hope that they will return. Remember, God loves them more than we do!
Note: Carla has been married to Allan Calhoun for twenty-five wonderful years. They have two beautiful daughters, Janessa (23) and Amy(19). They pastored in Barrie, Ontario for seventeen years, were AIMers in Ireland for two years, and are presently missionaries to The Netherlands.
Keep Praying for Prodigals By Cathy Conn
The basic meaning of the word prodigal is waste. The biblical story of the prodigal son says “he wasted all that he had.”
That little baby we held in our arms and cared for is now wasting his life away from God. How can this happen? It seems that the heaviness of dealing with a child who has strayed away from God is almost unbearable at times.
As the mother of a prodigal, we deal with guilt, grief, and a sense of failure. We feel deep pain as we see our child make poor choices, knowing they will bring so much sorrow. It’s so hard to sit back and remain quiet as we watch his life spiral. If only we could just roll back the clock to the times we rocked them to sleep and held their little hand to protect them from injuries. That would bring some kind of calm to our soul.
How should we pray for that wayward child? What can we do to change his course of life? At first we are so brokenhearted and filled with anguish that we can only weep in prayer. The pain seems too great.
The Bible says the prodigal son spent all he had and began to be “in want.” I believe that son finally realized he had nothing and remembered what it was like to be back in his dad’s house. So we should begin to pray that the Lord would bring to the mind of our prodigal the many times he felt the awesome, powerful touch of the Holy Ghost.
Ask the Lord, “As the prodigals get up in the morning, remind them of those precious times they felt the anointing of the Holy Ghost. When they lay down at night, bring back all those memories of having the peace of God in their lives. Remind them of those wonderful times of vacation and times around the dinner table they spent with their families. Lord remove the hurt, heal their bitterness, and bring them to themselves. Remove the anger and replace it with a joy. Remove the hardness in their heart and replace it with softness. Remove pride and replace it with humility. Renew their knowledge of the Scriptures, and give them a love for Your Word. Remove everything that hinders them from coming back to You, Lord.”
The Bible says that the father saw the prodigal from afar off. Could it be that the father never gave up believing his son would come home? I believe that we should keep looking with anticipation and watching for the return of our prodigal. God’s promises do not fail. No matter what the prodigal does, keep loving that child, just like Jesus loves them.
One thing for sure, never give up praying for the prodigal. The woman who kept coming back to the unjust judge finally got her request granted.
Note: Cathy Conn is from Topeka, KS and wife to Kansas District UPC Superintendent Mike Conn, mother to Amanda and Carissa, mother-in-law to Nathan Dormer and John Mahony, Grandma to Patrick Mahony & Jude Dormer and, Pastors wife, Realtor and Kansas District Ladies Ministry Director.
UPCI Ladies Ministries, 8855 Dunn Road, Hazelwood, MO 60342
The above article, “Praying for Prodigals” was written by Mary Loudermilk. The article was excerpted from UPCI Ladies Ministries.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”