Praying for a Prodigal

Does your child respond to your household rules or personal instructions with indifference, resentment, or rebellion? Fearing something might happen to them, do you dread the sound of the phone or doorbell when they’re away?
 
The experience generates a tangled web of emotions – frustration, embarrassment, fear, distrust, despair… The issues range from refusing to complete school assignments to lying, drugs, alcohol, suicide, gambling, pornography, immoral relationships, and more.
 
I’ve been there, and I’m here to encourage you.
 
When our youngest was very young, it was a continual battle to get her to complete school assignments. She would excuse herself, “I’ve got something in my eye"… but ten minutes later, I’d find her fixed in front of the television. When she was thirteen, she frequently entertained suicide. I was terrified to leave her alone at any time.
   
Here’s what I learned and the basics of what you need to know. It’s not a battle of wills, but a battle against dark spiritual forces seeking to claim the heart and potential of these special treasures God has appointed to our care.

 
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood,
but against principalities, against powers,
against the rulers of the darkness of this world,
against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Ephesians 6:12 KJV
 

God cares more about our children than we can ever begin to comprehend. And so He provides us with Heavenly Authority, equips us with Spiritual Resources, and Christ has already waged the ultimate Battle for victory. So,

 
Put on the whole armor of God
so that you may be able to stand firm
against the devil's strategies.
Ephesians 6:11 ISV
 

One of satan’s key tactics is to divide and conquer. (I never capitalize his name or pronoun references as he’s a lower case creature.) he and his minions cannot read your thoughts, but they can observe your actions and inaction. they can see what you read, write, entertainment you seek, how you interact with members of your family and others, what you devote your life to... they recognize the kinks in your armor.
The New American Standard Version of the Bible emphasizes the importance of our God-given resources in Ephesians 6, by using all capital letters,     

 
 
 
 
 
Verse 14} "Stand firm therefore,
HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS
WITH TRUTH,"
 

When Jesus was tempted by satan in the wilderness, He simply spoke Truth from Deuteronomy 6 and 8, and the devil left him (Matt. 4). There’s no evidence that He shouted, but simply spoke what had already been written.
 
So, when the house is quiet, spend as much time reading the Bible as possible. It’s rich and wonderful and is drenched with power. Use colored pens and pencils to mark Verses that speak to your circumstances. This will give you a quick reference, provide encouragement as needed, and it will help you encourage others walking through such a season. One Truth we can glean from the Book Jesus used for His battle against satan,

 
“Do not be afraid or discouraged,
for the Lord will personally go ahead of you.
He will be with you;
he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
Deuteronomy 31:8 NLT
 

And from the New Testament,

 
 
             “For with God
                  nothing
                      shall be
                        impossible.”
Luke 1:37 KJV
 

 
 
 
 
 
“and HAVING PUT ON
THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS,”
 

Righteousness is living the way God desires us to live. We can’t be perfect, but we are called to pursue holiness (Heb. 12:14), surrendering our way for God’s Way, using His Word as our guide and responding to the Holy Spirit, as these bring sensitivity to sin that might hinder our prayers. While reading through the Bible, mark His instructions carefully with a colored pen. And obey. It may require purging the “entertainment cabinet” of music and movies that contain immorality – Paul even warned the Ephesians against “coarse jesting” (Eph. 5:4). And do you have a movie that abuses the holy Name to which or through which we pray as we seek to move the mountains of human hearts? We must remove the offensive, as these infect our prayers.

 
“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened,
That it cannot save;
nor His ear heavy,
That it cannot hear.
But your iniquities have separated you from your God;
And your sins have hidden His face from you,
so that He will not hear.”
Isaiah 59:1-2 NKJV
 

 
 
        “But seek first the kingdom of God
                   and His righteousness,
               and all these things
shall be added to you.”
                                    Matthew 6:33 NKJV
 

 
Verse 15} “and having shod YOUR FEET
WITH THE PREPARATION
OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE;”
 

 
 
 
 
“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!”
Romans 10:15 NKJV
    

 
Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
Matthew 5:9 NKJV
 

 
               Verse 16} “In addition to all,
                 taking up the shield of faith
                        with which you will be able to extinguish
                                   all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”
 

the enemy attacks relentlessly, seeking to wear us down, moving us to despair. Ask God to increase your faith. Study through the Bible, marking verses and stories that demonstrate faith in action. God also puts people in our lives with experiences that encourage us to continue lifting our shield of faith with fresh strength each day, until the enemy is finally exhausted and relents.    

 
       
“We walk by faith,
      not by sight.”
       2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV
 

 
“Watch,
         stand fast in the faith,
be brave,
be strong.
Let all that you do be done with love.”
1 Corinthians 16:13 & 14 NKJV
 

 
Verse 17} “And take the helmet of salvation,
and the sword of the Spirit,
which is the word of God.”
 

the enemy of all souls will play the blame game, moving you to feel responsible for the darkness in every life around you. And perhaps, in some ways, you may be responsible for some of your circumstances, but God longs to use your heart and hands to repair the breach. satan may tell you that because your relationship with your spouse is not what you want it to be, not what God wants it to be, that your prayers are worthless. But, dear one, consider the women who followed Jesus and provided the needs for Him and His disciples. Or consider Paul’s words to Timothy,    

 
      “I am reminded of your sincere faith,
                which first lived in
              your grandmother Lois
       and in your mother Eunice and,
    I am persuaded, now lives in you also.”
2 Timothy 1:5 NIV
 

Many churches are filled with and held together by women who long for their husbands to become faithful, faith-filled, vision-driven spiritual leaders of their families and communities. And there are men who strive to provide the spiritual and emotional needs of their families while their wives waltz with the world. Be encouraged. God uses the hearts of those fully surrendered to Him to write HIStory, changing the world. So, fight on.
 
This helmet covers the minds of believers – our thoughts. We have been saved and commissioned for this great battle. When circumstances assail us, we can open God’s Word and let His Thoughts transform our thoughts.    

 
 
     “I will lift up my eyes to the hills -
         from whence comes my help?
           My help comes from the Lord,
             Who made heaven and earth.
          He will not allow your foot to be moved;
        He who keeps you will not slumber.
      Behold, He who keeps Israel  
            shall neither slumber nor sleep.
       The Lord is your keeper;
          The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
             The sun shall not strike you by day,
                Nor the moon by night.
                   The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
               He shall preserve your soul.
         The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth,
and even forevermore.”
                Psalm 121 NKJV
 

 
“For the word of God is living and active,
sharper than any two-edged sword,
piercing to the division of soul and of spirit,
of joints and of marrow, and discerning
the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
Hebrews 4:12 ESV
 

 
“Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.”
Psalm 119:105 ESV
 

 
Verse 18} “With all prayer and petition
pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view,
be on the alert with all perseverance and petition
for all the saints…”
 

Mark prayers in your Bible, or use the stories to inspire your prayers. For example, when Jesus calms the storm in the sea (Mark 4:35-41), write in the margin,
   
“Jesus, please calm the storms in our hearts.
Let there be peace within us and among us.”    
 
With the best of your passionate energies, pray for all prodigals and the parents of all prodigals. As your heart cries out for others, God is deeply moved, and the forces of hell tremble as our attentions shift from ourselves and into the realm of his demonic activity executed on a global scale.
Fasting is highly effective. This form of “shock and awe” warfare can be executed many ways – water fast, juice fast, fasting food for a day or a number of days, eating only one meal per day, Daniel (“yucky food”) fast... Ask others to fast with you. When a friend’s husband left her, she asked seven friends/intercessors to fast and pray for her family one day a week, each taking a different day. It took months, but he returned home.    
Worship is also “shock and awe” warfare prayer. Sing with the voice God gave you. Dance in victorious celebration, crushing the enemy under your feet (Luke 10:19). Play worship music in your prodigal’s room whenever they’re away. Anoint their windows and doors with oil. Pull back the curtains, asking God to flood their hearts with holy Light. Daily, touch their pillows and pray that as they rise up and as they lie down, they pursue wisdom and the mind of Christ.        

O God, draw them and speak to them
day and night,
even as they sleep.
When doing laundry, pray that they’ll desire to put on the full armor of God and to wear it all times, day and night – even as they sleep. When moving their shoes or putting on your shoes, ask God that each step they take draw them farther from the fields of darkness and deep into the chambers of His Heart.
I sleep with a small stuffed sheep. Each time I shift positions or get up, I’m prompted to pray John 10, that my family hear God’s Voice, that they not listen to a stranger. This is a good inspiration to pray for all prodigals.    

Click on sheep for Just 18 Summers
article on this topic.
Plant glow-in-the-dark stars in strategic places throughout your home. Whenever you see any star, pray that your children grow in wisdom and shine like the stars of the firmament, leading multitudes to Christ (Dan. 12:3).      
Place photographs of your prodigal throughout your home, next to your bed, in your Bible, and where you spend most of your time each day. Write a Scripture on the back of each one. Whenever you see them, train your heart to faithfully proclaim God’s promises over him or her.          
I decorated our kitchen, hanging grapes from the window valances and ladder-back chairs, a prompt to pray that my family abide in Christ with a passionate desire to bear fruit that will honor God, fruit that cannot be humanly measured. 
Ask God to sever any alliance that currently infects your prodigal or prevents them from connecting with God and you. This can be bullies, drug dealers, anyone living an immoral lifestyle… In our situation, bonds with Christian children were severed. When Melissa Ann’s friends had cell phones, wore makeup… – things we had not released her to do, her friends commented, as I would have at that age, “I’m glad I don’t have your mom!” These were great kids with awesome parents! But Melissa Ann chose to follow a dark spirit that encouraged her to resent me. It took extreme heartbreaks for her to realize that she had to respect my authority. As she began to honor me, she began to hear God’s Voice. She now races to open the door, refusing to enter before me as we carry groceries into the house – when no one else is watching. She also understands that God is watching, and if she wants a husband who will honor her and their family, she must demonstrate honor – it’s the law of equal yoking.  
Write out Bible Verses on attractive papers and post them throughout Your home. They will encourage you, help thwart the efforts of the enemy, and serve as powerful seeds for anyone who sees them.    

 
              “For as the rain comes down,
                     and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there, but water the earth,
                             And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
“For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace;
The mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree,
and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree;
And it shall be to the Lord for a name,
for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”
Isaiah 55:10-13 NKJV
Emphasis Added
 

 
Therefore put on the full armor of God,
so that when the day of evil comes,
you may be able to stand your ground,
and after you have done everything,
to stand.
Ephesians 6:13 NIV
 

If living at home, do what it takes to ensure they receive the best spiritual nourishment possible. This may require moving from a church you’ve attended twenty years – are your children thriving there? Fortunately, our kids loved church. But we had a family rule - as long as they lived under our roof or were supported by us in any way, they would attend church - this was non-negotiable. And athletic or other activities were never allowed to replace celebration and worship opportunities on Sundays, Wednesdays, or other special church events. Our children are His children. We are simply stewards.

 
Father God,
please grant these children You've assigned me
a passion for You,
Your Word,
Your Will,
Your Wisdom,
those who are lost within Your World,
and a passion for holiness...

He will...
 

Ensuring their spiritual nourishment may require altering your lifestyle – trading material glitter for true relational treasures – purest gold. If they live away from home, ask God to surround them with intercessors and individuals who will draw them into an intimate experience with their holy Heavenly Father.     
A former prodigal shared that her mother kept a journal when she was away. When ready to return home, she called, hearing her mother’s voice on the answering machine,  “If this is Donna, I’m at…” This prodigal was deeply moved. Such a journal might be encouraging whether your treasure is living at home or away.    
Eliminate any connection with the occult – horoscopes, palmistry, Ouija boards, books, television programs, video games – anything dark. These open a gate into the chambers of our children’s hearts that may be difficult to close and clean. Melissa Ann once spent time with someone who allowed her to watch a popular television network with shows about witches and a girl with psychic powers. It was during that season that our lives became a nightmare. Our best family decision was to disconnect with satellite television. Gate closed.       

 
“There shall not be found among you anyone who
makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire,
or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer,
or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer,
or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist,
or one who calls up the dead.”
Deuteronomy 18:10 & 11 NKJV
 

But Jesus provided an example of a man’s son...
When the disciples asked why they were unable to deal with his demon, Jesus explained,

 
“Because of your little faith.
For truly, I say to you, if
you have faith like a grain of mustard seed,
you will say to this mountain,
‘Move from here to there,’
and it will move,
and nothing will be impossible for you.
However, this kind does not go out
except by prayer and fasting.”
Matthew 17:20 & 21 NKJV
 

Be available when they need you or want you. If they live in the home, carve out quality time for them every day. If possible, be available when they come in from school; this is the best time for them to detox from the day’s experience. If you aren’t there, their heart will be molded by the individual or technology device that is available. Melissa Ann doesn’t date, but I was always waiting for Kristina when she came in from an evening with her friends. Above all, listen. Listen. Listen. Listen. Listen. Hear their pain, even in their silence.
If your prodigal doesn’t live in your home or if you don’t know where they are, use the time you would spend with them on your knees, on your face, crying out to God on their behalf. Keep your Bible open before you – reading the Verses you’ve already marked, and mark more.    
When hurt, frustrated, or angry, avoid (like the plague) doing anything that would generate a repulsed response – shouting Bible Verses or prayers, sermonizing, holding up crosses… I’ve known people who did this. I’m unaware of anyone who’s found this effective. Sometimes a simple hug can work miracles - love is power.     
Avoid arguments, remembering that a gentle answer turns away anger (Prov. 15:1). Pray as often as necessary,

 
Let the words of my mouth,
and the meditation of my heart,
be acceptable in thy sight,
O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.
Psalm 19:14 NKJV
 

Love your prodigal fiercely, faithfully, unconditionally. Don’t just tell them you love them; show them. And if you don’t know where they are, show them through the energetic passion of your prayers. Always remember and demonstrate the Love of Christ, in that while we were yet sinners, He surrendered His Life for us (Rom. 5:8).  
Speak life over them – words that inspire and lead them into a sense of God-honoring destiny. I made Melissa Ann a series of videos, using photographs with special memories and music inspiring her to be all God desires her to be. It was an arrow that struck her heart. It moved her, but only one step. But it’s a season, a process – one step at a time.  
If you get up during the night, get on your knees before climbing back into bed. Remember, pray for all prodigals, their parents, their brothers, sisters, grandparents…   

 
      Arise, cry out in the night,
          as the watches of the night begin;
                 pour out your heart like water
                      in the presence of the Lord.
                              Lift up your hands to him
                          for the lives of your children...
                                  Lamentations 2:19
 

 
   Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.
Psalm 27:14 NLT
 

Tattoo, embroidery, or paint all of Romans 8 on your heart, for you are called for this purpose, to stand in the gap for His beloved lost children.    

 
And we know that all things work together for good
to those who love God, to those who are the called
according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28 NKJV
 

 
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
 

 
       Therefore, my beloved brethren,
            be steadfast,
                immovable,
 always abounding in the work of the Lord,
       knowing that your labor
            is not in vain in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV
 

Whenever you see a visual depiction of an angel, pray for and eagerly anticipate the day your prodigal returns home, returns to God, setting off explosive celebrations in the heavenly realm. For Jesus said,    

 
“…there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner
who repents and returns to God
than over ninety-nine others who are righteous
and haven't strayed away!
Luke 15:7 NLT
 

Faith anticipates their return. And when they do, don’t make them walk to the door and knock, pleading to return. When you see them on their way, run to them, embrace them and celebrate (Luke 15:11-32). Give them the best of your life, your heart, as this will lay the foundational stone for a relationship built upon the Rock.     
Once they’re free, use your experience to equip and encourage others. Continue to pour out your heart like water for the remaining prodigals, for those who are falling away - for you have been trained for this call.    

 
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.
He comforts us in all our troubles
so that we can comfort others.
When they are troubled, we will be able to give them
the same comfort God has given us.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NLT
 

 
Don’t worry about anything;
instead,                  
pray about everything.         
                                      Tell God what you need,
             and thank him for all he has done.
Then you will experience God’s peace,
 which exceeds anything we can understand.
His peace will guard your hearts and minds
as you live in Christ Jesus.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable,
and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.
Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Keep putting into practice all you learned…
Then the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:6-9 NLT
 

In closing, never forget the power of prayer. Be encouraged, as Jesus said,

 
“Simon, Simon,
                                Satan has asked to sift all of you
     as wheat.
                    But I have prayed for you, Simon,
       that your faith may not fail.
       And when you have turned back,
       strengthen your brothers.”
           Luke 22:31-32 NIV
 

And when he returned to God, Peter rocked the world. And your prodigal can too.

 
And let us not grow weary of doing good,
for in due season we will reap,
if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9 ESV
(Emphasis added)
 

Dear ones, satan has desired to sift you and your family as wheat, but God and I are praying with you and for you…  Stand firm!
PS ~ Whenever you see watercolors, join me in praying for all prodigals.
By Connie Norris
My Home, a House of Prayer for All Nations
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