How Can I Win My Prodigal Son or Daughter Back to the Lord?

A Little Lesson

Read the transcript of this video below.

How can I win my prodigal son or daughter back to the Lord? Having a prodigal child is something that a lot of good folks within the body of Christ are suffering through. It is heartbreaking, because as Christian parents, we of course want to be with our children eternally. we want them to have all the blessings of following Christ. So, what do you do?

Illustration of prodigal son parable

The kids are out of the nest. You can’t be dragging them to Sunday School anymore. They’re out of your significant influence. You still have a relationship with them. Well, if you don’t have a relationship with them, then go back and look at the video that I just … the previous Little Lesson, okay?

That’s about how to kind of restore broken relationships through humility. But, let’s say you’ve got a relationship with them. You’re on a talking basis, and you see them, but they’re not living a life like you want them to live. So, what can you do? Well, of course I, along with everyone else, will tell you to pray and never give up. God hears your prayers. God loves your prodigal child. Okay? So, pray of course, and trust God. And then, right along with that, put some legs on those prayers, as they used to say in this one little Pentecostal church I used to go to. Make your Christianity attractive to your children. This is something that I keep coming back to, I guess, because so many people’s Christianity doesn’t attract me. It’s a turnoff to me.

They’re just mean people, and rule keeping people, and judging everybody else who’s not keeping the rules like they’re keeping the rules, and they’re always fighting and arguing with theological points. Who wants that? I don’t want that. What person in his right mind wants that? Nobody in their right mind wants the Christianity that some people present, and people are proud about that. That’s the most bizarre thing, you know? “Oh, it’s the narrow way, and so, you know, most people aren’t going to want this. So, if most people don’t want what I have, well I must be doing it the right way.” Oh, right. Okay. I guess that’s how it worked for Jesus and the apostle. That’s why nobody came to the Lord when Jesus was on this earth. That’s why nobody repented of their sins back in His day, or the days of the apostles, because they were on the narrow way, so nobody wanted it.

Yeah. I’m just trying to provoke your thinking about your particular version of Christianity that is so unattractive. Like goodness. If we’re following the Lord, and doing His will, and experiencing the automatic blessings that come with it. If we’re exemplifying the fruit of the spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, and our kids are seeing that, it should be attractive to them. They should say, “Wow. I like what you’ve got. Yeah” If you don’t have that, then you need to cultivate that, and read the Bible. Maybe abandon some of those silly doctrines that you’re clinging to that are so antithetical to what people actually know in their own God-given conscience about what’s righteous, and what’s right, and what’s wrong. All right, enough said on that.

So, make it attractive, and then live it in front of them, and then you have to be very, very cautious. You know? Be sensitive to them. If there’s resistance to something that you’re saying that’s spiritual, you know, be sensitive. Say, “Oh, oh, I’m sorry. I know that that bothers you when I talk this way.” See? You’re being the humble person. You’re being the sensitive person. You’re not being the Bible-thumper. You’re just being the lover. Then maybe that prodigal child will say, “Oh, no, no, no, no, no. I know how you are Mom. I know how you are. That’s okay. Let’s talk about that.”

“Oh. Oh, thank you hon, because it is really important to me, and you’re really important to me. That’s why I talk about it, so you just have to put up with me.” You know? You’re keeping it, keep the love flowing there. Now, be careful if you’ve got a real prodigal who’s really gone astray. Not just like your average Joe American sinner, but I mean deep into the darkness. You know, the police are involved or whatever. Be careful that you’re not working against your own prayers, because God might have your son or daughter in jail for a reason, and for you to run in there and bail them out, or whatever you can do to reverse the consequences of their wrong decisions, you’ll see that then you’re an enabler.

You’re not really helping your child to face up to real life, because real life, there’s real consequences to our decisions. If you have to go through the pain of watching your child suffer through the consequences of wrong decisions, I know it’s tough. It’s so tough. You love them. You just want to get in there and say, “Oh, I don’t want to see you suffer like that. Let me bail you out. Let me help you. Oh, let me give you the money, or let me straighten this out for you.” No, no, no! God’s answering your prayers. That’s why your kid’s in jail!

Amen. That’s why there’s suffering. God’s answering your prayers. God is trying to get, just like the prodigal son in the Bible story that Jesus told, after he’d spent all of his inheritance, and all of his friends left him, and he was feeding the pigs for a job, and was longing to eat the pig food. You know? Aren’t you glad his dad just didn’t swoop in right there and say, “Son, I still got some more money for you.” No. Now again, that’s just a story. I think it’s a fictional story, so I don’t know about if … It doesn’t make any difference. The point is, the father, any father, would be foolish to swoop in and save the prodigal son or the prodigal daughter, to help them or alleviate the consequences of their decisions.

What you want to convey to your kids is, “Hey, I love you. I made lots of mistakes too. You’ve made a mistake, but the best thing I can do is just to let you kind of eat the fruit of your decisions. But, you know I’m always here, and you know I want you to believe that Jesus is the divine son of God, and therefore do what I did. Repent. Start following him. Okay?” And, if your adult children want to come home and visit you, and they want to bring their girlfriend or their boyfriend, and they want to sleep together, you know? You say, “Oh. You know I love you but you’re not married, and God loves you. God says it’s wrong for people who are not married to be sleeping together, because he loves them, and he thinks that people who sleep together should be committed for life, because that’s the best thing for them because God loves them. See, God’s commandments are all based on his love for us. So, you can both come and visit me, but you have to sleep in separate bedrooms. That’s all. I love you both. I love you both so much. Come on and stay with me. But just, this is my hotel, so you got to abide by my rules.”

You’ve got teenage kids who are prodigals, and they want to come in at 3:00 in the middle of the night after their partying. You say, “Oh no, no, no, no, no. This is my hotel. This is my hotel. I love you, but you can’t come in at 3:00 AM and expect that everything is going to be okay. No, no. If you come home at 3:00 AM, that door is going to be locked, and you don’t have the key, so you’ll be sleeping outside, but in the morning I’ll let you in, and I hope that you learned the lesson.” Okay. Well, these are just some basic things to say about parents with prodigals, and don’t ever give up hope. Don’t ever give up hope. There’s plenty of stories of prodigals coming back to the Lord. Okay? Thanks for joining me. Hope to see you next time. God bless you.