Dealing With A Prodigal Is 59:16 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Many of us have children who have strayed to the world. We are living in the perilous times of 2 Tim 3:1-5, so it’s not surprising. Nevertheless, it hurts and we must know what to do. To deal with a prodigal requires:
Prayer – Is 59:16 – Israel was deep in sin and when the Lord looked “there was no intercessor.” We must pray for prodigals. This is not just agonizing and complaining and crying before the Lord. This is fervent effectual prayer [Jas 5:16]. This is scriptural prayer, where your prayer is refined by what you have been shown in the Bible. This is intercessory prayer by the Spirit of God in us [Rom 8:26]. This is spiritual warfare [Eph 6:12]. Though these children have made the choices themselves, the devil often gets involved in their sin [2 Tim 2:25-26] and we must do battle on their behalf.
Preaching – 2 Sam 12:7-14 – when David strayed from the Lord into sin with Bathsheba, Nathan showed up and said, “Thus saith the Lord God…” I’ve seen parents argue with and plead with their kids. I’ve seen them whine and play the “pity me” card. I’ve seen them spoil their kids to try to woo them back. And many other things like this. What wayward kids need is a good dose of “Thus saith the Lord” from a prayed up, Spirit-filled parent, confirmed by the witness of a Spirit-filled man or woman of God. They need a Jonah preaching the fear of God into Nineveh.
Parting – 2 Sam 12:15 – after Nathan’s sermon, he departed to his house. After Samuel confronted Saul’s disobedience and stubborn rebellion, he “came no more to see Saul,” [1 Sam 15:35]. Paul told the Corinthians to cut off fellowship with the young man who was sinning in the church [1 Cor 5:11]. The prodigal son’s father didn’t chase after his son in the far country [Lk 15:13]. He let him go.
Patience – Lk 15:17 – you can’t rush the process of a prodigal getting right with God. He must come to himself. He must realize that he has “sinned against heaven,” [Lk 15:18]. He must realize that he has sinned against you, too. But he has to straighten out his mess with God before he can get straightened out with you. So, you can’t take him back before he has fully reconciled with God. And you don’t know how long that’s going to take; it could take years. God will be working to answer your prayers, but he is going to let the prodigal run until he realizes that the pleasures of sin only last a season [Heb 11:25]. He has to feel some reaping [Gal 6:7].
Peace – Is 26:3 – you must trust the Lord and have your mind stayed on him to such a degree that you are in perfect peace the whole time your prodigal is away. Fretting and worrying and grieving are all emotions that you experience while dealing with a prodigal. But you can’t live there. You must take your mind off the child and get your mind on the Lord and keep it there. Your mind must be “stayed on” the Lord. And then you will have peace. Peace helps you make the right responses and decisions when you have the opportunity to see or hear from your prodigal.
Conclusion: if you don’t follow these tried and true requirements in dealing with your prodigal you are going to experience more grief and heartache than you should and you are going to have less success in helping him turn back to the Lord. Put these five things to the test. And remember, the choice whether to get right with God and to reconcile with you still rests with your child. Even following these five things won’t guarantee his return because you don’t get to make the choice for him.