Each time our children face a struggle, the first thing, the immediate reaction of a parent is to step in and try to resolve their pain. A huge dilemma for a prodigal's parent is letting go of that innate desire. This was a major problem for me! (And that's an understatement!)
Seven years into my son's prodigal journey (I'm a little slow on the uptake!), God prompted my heart to "let go of my son; to take my hands off him so He could begin a good work in my son" (see here). Ever felt like rebelling? After my initial rebellious ranting, "No way am I gonna do that!", I began to try it. I soon realized that even though my first reaction was, "How can I sit by and do nothing???????", I became busy--that's B.U.S.Y. praying for my prodigal. Where I was once hands-on-interfering with God, I learned that I could be a partner in His work by praying for my son. Folks, there is power in surrender!
Finding books on praying for our children became a useful tool; praying Scripture for my son was invaluable. Soon, my anxious heart was filled with peace--by letting go I had not abandoned my son, I was a fighting warrior for his soul!
Just last week I discovered a great website, Hannah's Cupboard: Praying the Prodigal Home.
This morning, I am praying one of their suggested prayer strategies: The Hedge: From Hannah's Cupboard:
The Hedge--Hosea had a prayer strategy to bring his harlot wife back. "Therefore, behold, I will hedge up her way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her so that she cannot find her paths. And she will pursue her lovers, but she will not overtake them; and she will seek them, but will not find them. Then she will say, 'I will go back to my first husband, for it was better for me then than now!'" (Hosea 2: 6-7).
Imagine a person inside a thorny hedge, unable to get out. They may try to go their own way but they can't hack their way through the dense hedge. You can pray that though your child tries to go in the paths of sin, they are stopped in every effort. Pray and declare God's hedge around your loved one. Declare that they are coming to their senses as they are hedged in and can't get out. (The pig pen was the prodigal son's hedge).
I am busy doing nothing--I am praying a hedge around my son so God will work with him--And protect him from the enemy. I will have to do some Biblical research on this, but I feel certain that we can pray a protective hedge around our loved ones. Have you done this for your children...whether prodigal or not? Protecting our children is a parent's number one (well--maybe number two right after loving them!) priority. I am asking God to continue His work with my son's life (within the hedge) AND to protect him from any attacks of the enemy--who wants to maintain a stronghold on his life.
Also from Praying the Prodigal Home are Do's and Don'ts 'til Victory Comes! (Don't you just love that word--V.I.C.T.O.R.Y!)
- Ask God to give you a specific scripture that you can pray and claim for your child. For instance, [....] "I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and to his mourners." (Isaiah 57:18)
- Refrain from manipulating or trying to do the work of the Holy Spirit yourself. (There's that surrender thing again!) Pray and then let God arrange divine appointments etc. He doesn't need your help (WHAT?) and he'll do a much better job than you, I promise. (So true!)
- Avoid demanding time frames. Yes, you want it to happen NOW but you will end up frustrated and discouraged if you claim timings that God does not initiate. (You mean I am causing my own frustration? Surprise!) This is a very delicate balancing act: pressing hard and aggressively for your child's return to the Lord and yet waiting patiently and trusting God for his way and his time.
- Don't give up no matter how long your child sits in his pig pen. Keep watching and expecting his return. Have the fatted calf in the wings, waiting for the big celebration. It's coming. "Is anything too difficult for the Lord? (Genesis 18:14) NO! NOTHING!
My friends, these are useful tools for all children, prodigal or not! I hope by sharing them with you, the next time a trial threatens fear: you will feel at peace! Even when it feels like there is nothing we can do--we can get busy! We are partners with God; the One who loves our children even more than we do!