When Prodigal Mamas Grow Weary

My friend Maggie’s been praying for her prodigal son for over three years. Sarah’s been praying for hers for ten. Alyssa? Four.

Some days they wake up crying. Some nights they go to sleep that way. Their hearts break as they watch their sons and daughters race headlong toward destruction. Sometimes they wonder if their prayers are accomplishing anything.

And then there’s Jan, who’s praying for her “good daughter.” Katie’s not staying out drinking; she’s staying home studying. She’s attending a prestigious college working on her advanced degree and making her mama proud. Except Jan's heart is breaking too, because while Katie has all the time in the world for book knowledge, she has little time for God's knowledge. She’s as lost as the adult children bent on destruction, and she’s destructing, too, just in a neater, more socially acceptable way.

Mamas grow weary praying for these street smart, empty-hearted children. Day after day they pray. Some days their prayers are faith-filled and powerful. Other days they’re weak and desperate. Fear creeps in, dragging doubt along with it. They awaken in the night and pray for the grown children who rest heavy on their hearts.

So what’s a mama to do when she grows weary? 

Remember God’s heart—the kind heart of the Shepherd who seeks and seeks after his lost sheep.

“I will seek what is lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick . . .” (Ezek. 34:16).

Remember what God did for us. We weren’t seeking God, but he pursued us, awakened us, and apprehended us. He can do the same for our children.

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-- it is by grace you have been saved” (Eph. 2:1-5).  

Claim God’s promises. Stormie Omartian’s book The Power of Praying for Your Adult Children is a rich collection of faith stories and biblical truths we can pray into our children.

Fast and Pray. When we fast, we demonstrate to God that we want his power to be at work in our children’s lives even more than we want physical comfort and sustenance. The physical discomfort of hunger reminds us to pray--often and well.

“So He said to them, "This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting" (Mark 9:29).

Ask in faith. If you don’t have faith, ask God to give it to you. Even faith is a gift from God.

“And the apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith’” (Luke 17:5). 

Never give up. Never give up. Never, never, NEVER give up. If praying didn’t work, God wouldn’t tell us to pray. Believe this.

“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous (wo)man accomplishes much.”

“Don’t be weary in doing good. You will reap a harvest if you don’t faint” (Gal. 6:9).

When that prodigal comes home, it will be worth it all. 

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Is there homeschooling mom in your life? 

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  1. This is a wonderful post.

    1. Thank you, Lynn, for stopping by. Kind words are always encouraging :)

  2. Much appreciated for this. Been praying for my son who doesn't even talk to me, for over 14 years....

    1. I am praying right now for you both, Mandy. No heart is too hard for God to soften. Don’t stop praying!