TAC Blog

How Do You Pray for Your Prodigal?

by Brenda Payne

I have heard it said the greatest battles are won on our knees! It is in fact, parental helplessness that forces us from a standing posture of “I can fix this” to a kneeling posture of “Oh, God, help, only You can fix this.”

It’s not enough to pray that our child will be sober. Sobriety is good but it is not God. Hell will be full of sober people. As parents, we plead with God to bring our children into a personal relationship with Him. We want to see their lives redeemed. We want to know that the ones we love the most will be with us in heaven.

And so we pray, not only for abstinence, but for renewal of the heart. It is easy to get caught up in the day to day drama of an addict and find ourselves laboring in praying for what will make things better right now! Praying Scripture is a wonderful way to push our prayers from the temporal to the eternal.  Consider using the words of Matthew 5:3-11 as a springboard to pray for your wayward child.

3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

Pray your child will have a right view of himself, that he will recognize he has no righteousness of his own. He can’t get sober enough to save himself; he must come to the end of himself and see his utter depravity. Then, and only then, will the kingdom of heaven be within his grasp.

4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 

Pray your child will intensely grieve over his sin. Pray he will have a godly sorrow that leads him to repentance. Then, pray he will know the forgiveness of the Father to wipe away every sin, along with his guilt and shame. Pray he will know the true comfort that comes from a clear conscience made clean by the blood of Christ.

5“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 

Pray all self-importance and entitlement would give way to humility and submission to God. Pray he will not fight against God’s will but accept God’s dealings with Him as good, even the consequences of his rebellion.

6“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 

Pray he will have an intense desire to know God and walk in truth and that God will fill this desire to overflowing!

7“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Pray your child will be continually moved to compassion to help others in need and not develop a hardness of heart. Ask the Lord to deal mercifully with your child, not according to what he deserves, but on the basis of God’s lovingkindness. Remember, it’s His kindness that leads us to repentance.

8“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 

Pray your child will be singularly devoted in his love for God. Pray his affections will no longer be divided, keeping one foot in the world.  Pray he will be firmly planted in the love of Christ for him. Pray God will call him “friend” and that your child will desire to walk faithfully in fellowship with the Father.

9“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 

Pray your child will put off all destructive and abusive patterns of living and take active steps to make peace, first with God and then with others. Pray he would bear the image of God by pursuing true and lasting peace, which will be evidenced in his closest relationships.

10“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. 

Pray that if your child must suffer, he will suffer for doing what is good and right before the Lord. Pray he will pursue the Lord regardless of the peer pressure that comes against him. Pray he would love Christ and sell out for him no matter the cost, with the same intensity he has sold out to his substance. Pray he will have a holy imagination and 20/20 vision to see beyond the here and now, to a future inheritance more grand than anything this earth can promise.

Let us not grow weary in continually offering prayers for our children, prayers with eternal significance. Remember, Jesus is still a friend of sinners. As long as there is breath, there is hope!

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Tweet: I have heard it said the greatest battles are won on our knees! … As parents, we plead with God to bring our children into a personal relationship with Him. -Brenda Payne https://ctt.ec/0ehzN+ #Praying4ProdigalChild

NOTE: I chose to use the pronoun “he” to not make the writing cumbersome, but obviously this applies to a son or a daughter.

All Scripture references are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway, 2011 Text Edition. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Praying hands image by congerdesign from Pixabay

Brenda Payne

Brenda was the first woman to be certified in the state of Alabama with the Association of Biblical Counselors where she counseled and taught women for twenty years. She is currently a “volunteer” for Jesus counseling and training in her new hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Brenda is completing her thesis project for her MABC at Faith Seminary on “A Manual for Christian Parents of Adult Addicts from a Distinctively Biblical Worldview”. Her interest in helping parents of adult addicts is the result of her own personal journey.

Brenda and her husband Paul have three grown children. She is passionate about speaking, writing, counseling and mentoring to encourage women to seek biblical counseling and discipleship training. She also enjoys hospitality and managing her “Scenic City” Airbnb, enjoying a good cup of coffee over meaningful conversation, and engaging in culture and outdoor activities.

She co-authored theTeach Them Diligentlystudy guide and wrote Motherhood: Hope for Discouraged Moms.  She is the co-founder of Known Ministries (knownministries.org) a non-profit committed to inspiring, equipping and training women in the personal ministry of the Word and problem-solving discipleship. She is the founder of the Chattanooga Biblical Counseling Coalition and the Chattanooga Biblical Counseling Women’s Network.

brendapayne4counsel@gmail.com

 

Hope Peddlers

by Gregory Kirk

When a counselee says on their PDI “I want to quit drugs or alcohol at any cost.” The question should arise, “Anything?”

“Are you willing to be incarcerated? That is one way to quit drugs and alcohol. By removing access to your temptation, you will quit.”

“Are you willing to move to an isolated island where there are no other humans and have your food flown in weekly, thereby limiting access to any drug or drink with alcoholic content?”

These are facetious questions of course but this is a question seen on hundreds of PDI’s I have observed over the years. Generally, the answer to the above questions is “No, of course not!” There is fallacy in the first question about being incarcerated since if one has access to the necessary payment, drugs and alcohol are available in prison. Moving to the isolated island is cost prohibitive and a little unsettling to most of the clients I have encountered in my practice.

Most of the clients who say they want to quit drugs or alcohol at any cost have one thing in common—they are at the end of their rope and have a common malady. They are without Hope. With no hope and no prospect of attaining hope they are literally and the end of their road. Hope is the driving force of seeing transformation in drug addicts and alcoholics. Thankfully, Romans 15:4 speaks to this unseen Hope.

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction,
that through endurance and through the encouragement
of the Scriptures we might have hope.
Romans 15:4 (ESV)

 

It is only through the scriptures, in one way or another, that this Hope is generated in the lives of counselees.[1]

This is not the “hope-so” hope of modern English. “I hope I win the lottery, or the hope we go to Disneyland, or more personally, I hope my wife does not ask me to go shopping” This is blessed Hope toward which the Christian looks with “confident expectation.” For instance, we know that Christ will return one day because the scriptures, which we hold in high esteem, proclaim that He will.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,
training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live
self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,
waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory
of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.
Titus 2:11-13 (ESV)

As counselors we can bring Hope to our clients when we are able to proclaim that we believe God’s promises and when we can communicate these promises with confidence. Without Hope there is no assurance that a counselee will endure to the end.

The correct response to “I am willing to do ANYTHNG to break my addiction” is “Are you willing to do whatever God wants you to do in this situation simply to please Him?” In secular counseling sessions there is an attitude of the client beating the addiction. We need to show our clients that without God’s help and provision there is no Hope of being transformed and clean.

As counselors we know that God wants them to live a life of victory free from besetting sins, which sets Christ as the main object of worship and adoration. We must be Hope Peddlers, sharing the Gospel of Hope and redemption to our clients so that we can see them change from “hopeless dope addicts” to “Dopeless Hope Addicts”

[1] Jay E. Adams, Ready to Restore (Phillipsburg, N.J: P & R Publishing, n.d.).

Gregory Kirk resides in Ellsinore, MO.  He currently serves as Pastor/Executive Direction of the United Gospel Rescue Mission and Grand Avenue Baptist Church in Poplar Bluff, MO.  The UGRM offers a Transformed Life one-year residential program for men who are seeking change.  The Mission also serves a public meal daily at noon.  Gregory has been married to his beautiful wife, Pamela for forty years.  He is the father of three and grandfather of twelve.  He holds a BA Th from Fairhaven Baptist College, MA Pastoral Clinical Counseling from Jacksonville Theological Seminary and MA Christian Resources From Union University, Jackson, TN.  He is currently a D.Ed.Min candidate at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY.  Greg has been in ministry for thirty years serving as Youth Pastor, Asst. Pastor and Senior Pastor of churches in Pennsylvania, California and Missouri.  Greg is a Registered Alcohol and Drug Counselor (RADC) and Medically Assisted Treatment Specialist (MATS) for the State of MO.

 

 

 

Briefcase Image by Shahid Abdullah from Pixabay

Addiction Intervention

For those who may have missed seeing this yesterday, Dr. Mark Shaw shares on the Association of Biblical Counselors blog about Addiction Intervention.

TIL 212 | Addiction Intervention

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