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.
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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.