11 Reasons Not to Blame Parents for Prodigal Children

11 Reasons Not to Blame Parents for Prodigal Children


It can be so easy for Christian parents to judge other parents when their kids stray from the faith. They don’t consider the pain and confusion that the parents are going through. If you are a friend or family member of a person who is struggling with a prodigal child, here are some ways to encourage them.

Let Them Know You Are Praying

Offer to meet with the parent or parents of the prodigal once or twice a week and pray with them. Knowing that other people are sharing the burden of prayer can be a relief to parents of prodigals. Assure them you will continue to pray each time the prodigal crosses your mind.

Let Them Know They Are Not Alone

Get together with your prodigal parent and listen to them. Let them talk it out, cry, scream, or do whatever they need to feel better.

That Their Child Coming to God Will Be a Process

Like the story of the prodigal son in the Bible, a child returning to God will take time. It’s a rarity for someone to wake up one day and decide to repent and return to the Lord in an instant. Most often, it can be a very gradual process. Let your prodigal parent know you understand this and are not expecting a grand display of repentance.

Let Them Know You Will Do Your Part

Sometimes, children have to hear things from someone other than their parents. Pray and ask God if it’s his will for you to reach out to the prodigal and connect. If so, ask God what the best way to connect is. This could be by taking them to lunch or calling them.

Let Them Know There Are Other Prodigals in the Church

When pastors teach about the prodigal son, they should bring it home and be honest about prodigals in their church. This doesn’t mean calling people out or naming names. However, parents of prodigals in the congregation will find comfort in knowing they are not alone and other church members are going through the same thing. Another idea would be to set up a group for prodigal parents to connect, share stories, and support each other.

The Parent’s Battle Plan: Warfare Strategies to Win Back Your Prodigals by Laine Lawson Craft

This book may be a good read for parents of prodigals. The author has three wayward children and offers hope and personal insight for broken-hearted parents. There is also a tried-and-true battle plan to help navigate this season.

Parents will learn how to handle the emotional difficulties of trusting, how to deal with a child’s self-destructive choices, how to pray boldly by God’s promises, etc. Although there is no guarantee a child will return, this book may be a helpful guide for parents to navigate this part of their lives.

Being a parent of a prodigal can be isolating, lonely, and heartbreaking, but it doesn’t have to be. Remember that you are not responsible for your child’s walk with God; their choices are not your fault. Instead, talk to God, pray, and reach out to others for the love and support you need. You are not alone. God sees you and hears you. Trust him with your child and for his will to be done.

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