- When was the last time you took your prodigal child to a casual lunch? Even though the conversation may be awkward, they will feel valued to have your time and to know that you are not embarrassed to be with them in public.
- How are you able to show an interest in something your child is interested in? See if you can find something in what they read, listen to, or do that can create a common bond.
- In what way does anger or fear rule your relationship with this child? Are you quick to listen and slow to speak? (James 1:19)
- What is one small thing you can do today that will reduce the tension that exists between you and your prodigal child?
- In what ways are you assuring your child that they are loved unconditionally?
- Are you willing to forgive and extend grace for as long as is necessary?
- Are there areas where you need to seek forgiveness from your child? (Matthew 5:23-24)
- Are there ways that you have been enabling your child’s poor behavior? How could you begin to change that area?
- What do you think God may be teaching you through the experience of having a prodigal child?
- What is one step you can take in the right direction and how can I help you do that?
BY Glenda Lesher
“I know how old you are Grammie—59!” five-year old Seth announced at my family birthday dinner. I thought, “If only,” but then grabbed him up and smothered him with kisses. He pretends that he doesn’t like to be kissed, but he was giggling. Meanwhile, active Jackson, who is three, was running around oblivious to the occasion although he did give me a card that he had “signed.” I’m so thankful for these healthy, beautiful grandsons and for my sons and daughters-in-law that love God and are raising them so well. I’m also grateful for my husband who is always there for me.
My joy was mixed with sadness, however. This was my first birthday without my mother, who had passed away only four months prior. Though I will always miss her (and the strawberry-banana pie she always made for me), I am comforted in knowing she is with Jesus—free of her sickness and suffering.
Thoughts of our teen-age grandson, who wasn’t at the dinner party, also brought heaviness to my heart. I’ll just call him “Ethan”. When he was just a toddler, his mother divorced our oldest son and quickly remarried. It was one of the most difficult times our family ever faced. The smiling young woman that had captured our hearts now seemed to disregard her faith and our family. Our precious, brown-eyed grandson was yanked away from his dad and from us, too. It’s no wonder God hates divorce. (Malachi 2:16 NIV)
When his mother’s second marriage failed, Ethan struggled—he had no motivation for school and a surly attitude. Although my son supported Ethan financially over and beyond his obligation, his moral influence was limited because of the “every other weekend visitation” rule. It seems so unfair that the courts often favor the mother, no matter how dysfunctional.
As a write this, problems continue in this young man’s life. I’m glad my mother is not here to know he is on probation for a minor offense and spent a week in a hospital for troubled teens—or that he failed the 10th grade.
But Ethan recently turned 16 and we see some encouraging, positive changes in his attitude. He is reaching out to his dad more and is opening up about his confusion and years of verbal abuse and neglect from his mother. He also believes the medications to “calm” him were a detriment to his development and learning.
In spite of his past, I’ve told l him that God loves him and the best is yet to come if he will make the right choices. I am confident of two things – Love never fails and the Lord does not wish for anyone to perish, but for all to come to repentance (I Corinthians 13:8; II Peter 3:9 NIV) . Ethan was dedicated to the Lord as a baby and I cling to Him for hope for my grandson’s salvation and transformation.
By Jen Powell
We were preparing for a visit from our adult prodigal son. The emotions waged war inside of me, a strange mix of excitement and pain.It was difficult to even put into words. I was eager to share our new home and life with him, but was I ready to see and hear things that would break my heart? I desperately wanted to hear of surrender to Jesus and recovery. I have prayed a thousand prayers for his salvation. Over and over I have asked God to intervene in his life and his choices. “Open his eyes, Lord! Soften his heart and do whatever is necessary to get a hold of this young man!”
Counting down the days before his visit I experienced sleepless nights. Thoughts were racing through my head and my prayers were increasing. As the anticipation built, I found myself wanting to protect my heart. My prayers became shallow until I was just asking God for a peaceful visit with no conflict – I didn’t want to be disappointed again. Fear raged within me regarding all the unknowns, but then something happened. Passion and courage rose up in me. Verses about fear (2 Timothy 1:7) and perseverance (Hosea 12:6) encouraged me. The Holy Spirit began to convict me, strengthen me, and comfort me.
How could I be expecting so little when I serve a God of miracles? The same God who parted the Red Sea, healed the lepers and raised the dead – the same God who wants none to perish and wants all to be saved (2 Peter 3:9). And this is the same God who lovingly and patiently pursued me – rescuing my life and my marriage. He has displayed His power in my life again and again. I have experienced miracles from God.
I refuse to limit God – I want more than that. I am asking God to perform a miracle in our son’s life – I believe that is what it is going to take. So I am asking again with a hopeful heart. I am asking God to show His power and demonstrate His love to our son for His glory and according to His Word. What a day of celebration it will be when our prodigal son returns to the loving arms of God and confesses his need for Jesus Christ (Luke 15:13-32). Limited and safe prayers leave little room for God to display His tremendous power. I want more than that!
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12)
Lord, thank you that You are faithful and patient. Thank you for Your mercy and compassion in my life. Strengthen me and give me the endurance to keep hoping, keep believing and keep praying to You, the God of miracles.