and my glory; my mighty rock,
my refuge is God. Trust in him at
all times, O people; pour out your
heart before him; God is a refuge for
us” (Psalm 62: 1-2; 5-8ESV) 1.
5. Serving God should not stop.
To bring God glory in every circumstance
of our life, we must continue to love and
serve Him despite them. To stop reaching
out to others, is to allow the enemy to take
two people down: your prodigal and you.
The Scriptures tell us to comfort one another during affliction. In order to do that,
we need to take our focus off our child
and stop thinking about the pain and evil,
and place our focus back on serving God.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever
things are true . . . whatsoever things
are of good report; if there be any
virtue, and if there be any praise,
think on these things. Those things,
which ye have both learned . . . and
seen in me, do” (Philippians 4: 8-9).
6. I learned to hope instead of fear.
I was fearful. I feared the influence of the
prodigal on my other children; I feared
my other children straying; I feared the
destruction of my beloved child. I needed to replace fear with hope.
“Have not I commanded thee? Be
strong and of a good courage; be not
afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for
the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1: 9).
The first thing to do was to answer the
question of how we became a family with a
prodigal so we could evaluate our parenting and training and get rid of any worldly
thinking, only keeping what was Biblical.
Then, we realized that it was our prodigal’s
own free will, sinful choices, and wrong
thinking that got them where they were.
We offered the gospel throughout their
childhood and they decided to grab hold
of a lie instead of the truth in order to justify continuing in sin. Although we parent
somewhat differently now, we stand even
stronger and with great hope on the Word
of God and not human philosophy.
Next, I needed to replace that ungodly
fear with Godly fear. To do that, I had
to consciously and decidedly put my
hope in the One who alone can redeem
my child. I began to pray for and thank
God for the work He would do in our
prodigal’s heart. After all, He loves with
a deeper love than we can duplicate. His
love is one that lays its life down for the
prodigal, whereas, sometimes our love
wants to reject or shun the prodigal and
balk against his rebellion. Like the Father
in the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15),
God’s love goes outside and expectantly
watches and waits for the prodigal’s return. Ours goes in the house and cries in
the corner. To be like Him, we need to
reject fear and follow after hope.
“The Lord taketh pleasure in them
that fear Him, in those that hope in
His mercy” (Psalm 147: 11).
7. I learned that I can love the
prodigal; not their sin.
Our love can be very conditional. Our
love looks for love in return. Our love
won’t give unless we see a return on our
investment; we hold back. And we eek
out love only if we expect something
from our prodigal, like a change of heart.
The prodigal son’s father gave generously
half of all he had to his son, knowing
he would squander it. He gave gener-
ously and the son spent foolishly. Do
you ever feel like you’ve poured all you
have of love and life into your prodigal,
and they live like you and what you hold
dear, don’t matter? Unconditional love—
agape love—gives and lets them go, but
watches in hope for their return. When
the father was a great way off he ran to
his son even though he didn’t not know
if his heart was changed yet or not. Our
love is so fickle. God’s love is eternal and
If God still values and loves your
prodigal, then you should too. You can
hate their sin and rebellion, and especially their separation, but you can love
them enough to do battle for their souls
on your knees in effectual, fervent, daily
prayer. Don’t let the pain debilitate you.
When you are down, cry out in prayer for
your prodigal. Then get up and watch in
hope. Never give up praying. It’s how you
keep loving them. While there is breath
in your prodigal, there is hope.
Editor’s Note: A powerful resource is B.J.
Reinhard’s Prayers for Prodigals. Download a PDF printable at bit.ly/2hHlNd6 or
purchase on Amazon at amzn.to/2g TVJLL
Deborah Wuehler is the Senior Editor for
TOS, participating author in The Homeschool Minute, wife to Richard, and mom
to eight gifts from heaven. She loves digging
for buried treasure in the Word, reading,
writing, homeschooling, and dark chocolate! You may contact her at senioreditor
1. Scripture quotation is from the ESV® Bible (The
Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry
of Good News Publishers. Used by permission.
All rights reserved.
I had to consciously and decidedly put my hope
in the One who alone can redeem my child.