If you have son(s) and/or daughter(s) who are prodigals waiting to come home – NEVER EVER GIVE UP and NEVER underestimate the power of a praying parent! If you do not have a prodigal, please be mindful of those that do. Undergird and encourage them and offer to PRAY FOR THEIR PRODIGALS with them! If you are a POP, pray for YOUR prodigals and pray often for other prodigals and their parents, because every time you do, you release a seed for others to pray for YOUR prodigal!
This time of year is always especially difficult for parents of prodigals (POP’s). Holidays can find the prodigals very far away from home sometimes physically, but always spiritually. Prodigals come in all sizes and in many phases of their departure from the Lord. Some have just left and begun their departure journey while others are a long, long way off in the pig sty. One thing remains for most POP’s, they spent a lot of time looking down the long, dusty or sometimes snowy road to see if they can see their prodigal(s) coming home. Their hearts cry out and long for the day they will see in the far distance that son or daughter coming up the road, their hearts and minds changed by the power of the Holy Spirit, and seriously repentant!
One of the most common mistakes POP’s make is to leave home and follow their prodigal motivated by co-dependency with the child, certain that they can win them back to the Lord. When this happens, they begin to try and do the work of the Holy Spirit in the prodigal’s life. Our example should be found in the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15. Here the father did not go out after the son, he waited for the son to return home when he was repentant. If we go out in that co-dependent state, we love them too much for the wrong reasons which becomes idolatry. We love our children more than we love Father God. Often the reason is our own fear that we have not yet dealt with. The Lord says that “perfect love casts out all fear.” If we walk in fear of our children’s wrong thinking or behavior, then it is a sure sign that we are not walking in the Father’s love in that area. We then must examine our own thinking and behavior and deal with our own sin.
The scriptures clearly tell us in Matthew 10:37, “He who loves and takes more pleasure in father or mother more than in Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves and takes more pleasure in son or daughter more than in Me is not worthy of Me.” And again in Luke 14:26 we see, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother (in the sense of indifference to or relative disregard for them in comparison with his attitude towards God) and likewise his wife and children and brothers and sisters – yes and even his own life also – he cannot be My disciple.”
This brings us to the question of ‘where is our focus.’ Always when we focus on our pain and our problems, the result is despair that moves us to depression, gloom and hopelessness. The only answer is to CHANGE OUR FOCUS. How many times during each day, do you just stop for a few seconds, take inventory of what you have been focusing on and then make a simple choice to focus on Father and ask Holy Spirit to rest on you. We must recognize our wrong thinking which comes out of our souls (our minds, wills, intellect and emotions). The answer is to focus on Father, tell your soul to ‘shut up’, and then call your human spirit to come into its rightful place over your soul. Then it is a simple step to connect your human spirit with the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of our Father). In this case as POP’s, we must begin then to allow our spirits to flow with His Holy Spirit and align ourselves with the promises in His word about our prodigals.
Below are some scripture promises to help POP’s to do that. Let them sink deeply into your spirit. As you claim them for you and your prodigal, begin to openly declare them (the devil hates that)! As you do, hope will replace your despair and Father’s love will begin to replace your fear! You will be able to let go of your prodigal and release them fully into the Father’s loving hands, no longer fearful, but now as a faithful, righteous POP focused only on Father’s promises which are ‘yes and amen.’
“The seed of the righteous shall be delivered.” Pro 11:21
“All your children shall be disciples taught by the Lord and obedient to His will, and great shall be the peace and undisturbed composure of your children.” Is 54:13
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, give yourself up to Him, take yourself out of your own keeping and entrust yourself into His keeping and you will be saved, and this applies to both you and to your household as well.” Acts 16:31
“Do not be afraid of the enemy; earnestly remember the Lord and imprint Him on your minds, great and terrible, and take from Him courage to fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your homes.” Neh 4:14
“Thus saith the Lord to Rachel (who is weeping for her children and refuses to be comforted) ‘refrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work shall be rewarded, says the Lord; and your children shall return from their enemy’s land. And there is hope your future, says the Lord: your children shall come back to their own country (home.)” Jer 31:15-16
Here are some ways to pray for your prodigals:
• Be specific
• Declare Scripture passages aloud, especially when your thoughts are bombarded by the enemy claiming His promises.
• Write down your prayers. Journal, journal, journal! Write what Father says to you as you pray and declare His promises. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did!
• Pray in accordance with God’s will using His word
• Pray for your children’s future
• Pray that Jesus Christ be formed in your children (see Galatians 4:19);
• Pray that they will train themselves to discern good from evil and have a good conscience toward God (see Hebrews 5:14; 1 Peter 3:21);
• Pray that God’s laws will be in their minds and on their hearts (see Hebrews 8:10);
• Pray that they will choose companions who are wise—not fools, nor sexually immoral, nor drunkards, nor idolaters, nor slanderers, nor swindlers (see Proverbs 13:20; 1 Corinthians 5:11);
• Pray that they will remain sexually pure and keep themselves only for their spouse, asking God for His grace to keep such a commitment (see Ephesians 5:3,31-33);
• Pray that they will honor their parents (see Ephesians 6:1-3).
Finally, LET GO OF YOUR PRODIGALS releasing Holy Spirit to go to work on them. Here are some ways to do that:
To let go doesn’t mean to stop caring, it means I can’t do it for someone else
To let go is not to cut myself off, it is the realization that I cannot control another
To let go is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences
To let go is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands
To let go is not to try and change or blame another, I can only change myself
To let go is not to care for, but to care about
To let go is not to fix, but to be supportive
To let go is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being
To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes, but to allow others to affect their own outcomes
To let go is not to be protective, it is to permit another to face reality
To let go is not to deny, but to accept
To let go is not to nag, scold, or argue, but to search out my own shortcomings and to correct them
To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires, but to take each day as it comes
To let go is not to criticize and regulate anyone, but to try to become what I dream I can be
To let go is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future
To let go is to fear less, and love more.
A final thought ~ As the Christmas holidays arrive and a New Year begins, I pray that your spirit will be blessed and enlarged and that even though you may be a POP, that your focus will be fully turned to jubilation, praise, thanksgiving and celebration of the King’s birthday! May you begin your New Year fully focused on Father and His promises of returning your prodigals home to HIM in His way and in His time.
Embraced by the Father’s love,