Encouragement for the Parent of a Prodigal Child
December 4, 2018
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Raising a child is one of the most fulfilling, wonderful, and selfless experiences in life. There is nothing quite like helping a precious son or daughter grow from an infant, to a toddler, to an elementary schooler, to a teenager, and finally to an adult. Your heart feels an overwhelming sense of love and protection unlike any other bond it has felt before.
The work of parenting can be humbling. It can be arduous and at times very difficult.
There are times when parents who raise their children according the ways of the Lord—found in the Bible and by the leading of the Holy Spirit—may become discouraged and even heartbroken when it seems their child is engaging in the things of the world that are damaging to his or her heart, mind, body and spirit. Like the prodigal son whom Jesus described in Luke 15:11-32, your child may have run far away to indulge in revelry. And like the father of the prodigal son, you may be longing for your child to return home and to his or her faith.
I wanted to share a word of encouragement to any parent who today is praying for their child to come back.
Here are 10 truths for you to cling to regarding God’s faithfulness in the life of your prodigal son or daughter:
1) Don’t give up. Don’t ever, ever, ever, ever give up hope.
2) God will redeem and restore. He loves your prodigal child even more than you do.
3) Your child is His child. God was the one who blessed you with that child, and He will bless you again when that child returns.
4) Stand on the promise of Proverbs 22:6 that if you train up a child in the ways of the Lord, that when they older they will not depart from the faith.
5) Keep loving your child. Love conquers all. When that child is in the pig pen of life like the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32, they will recall that the only person who loved them unconditionally was their mom and dad. Ultimately, they will remember that things were best in their life when they were at home under your care.
6) The grace that God has shown to you must be passed on to them. Don’t ever forget how much grace the Lord has given you whenever you disobeyed Him in the past. Each and every day, take the grace that God has given to you and simply pass it on to your prodigal son or daughter.
7) Look for progress, not perfection. We are looking for small steps in the right direction. When you train the eye to identify little steps of progress, your focus shifts from hopelessness to hope.
8) Aim for that line between tough love and compassionate love. This is one of the most difficult things to do as parents, and requires daily prayer for wisdom and grace. Try to do exactly what you think Jesus would do if He were in your situation.
9) Don’t ever think that you are alone. Many people have had prodigal children. Many people are hurting as you are hurting now. It’s what caused me to write this very article—to tell you that there are many people who have suffered as you are suffering and yet can tell you the story of God’s rescue and return of their child. And God will do it again!
10) Lastly, PRAY! One of our children was born on March 11. And our child didn’t know it, but we had people all over the country who had agreed to join us in prayer at 3:11 p.m. every day. Whatever your prodigal’s birthdate, make it the time that you invite people pray. And just know….I am praying for you, too!
Pastor Dudley Rutherford is the author of “Compelled: The Irresistible Call to Share Your Faith” (available on Amazon) and the senior pastor of Shepherd Church in Porter Ranch, California, which has four campuses in the Greater Los Angeles area. You can connect with Dudley at www.LiftUpJesus.com and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.