Wandering Children
Susanne Scheppmann

"The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results." James 5:16b (NLT)

Research shows that our children are wandering from the faith. "Why?" we ask. The answer is not simple. Even the experts realize the reason our children wander from the faith is multifaceted.

The truth is our children are straying from Christianity rapidly as soon as they move into their twenties. According to a recent George Barna study, "In total, six out of ten twentysomethings were involved in a church during their teen years, but have failed to translate that into active spirituality during their early adulthood." Again, there is no concrete answer to the questions of why our children wander.

But I know this statistic holds true in my own life. I became a Christian at the age of 15. I was on fire for Jesus. I loved Him from the depths of my soul—with all my heart, mind and strength. But then in my mid-twenties I walked away from my faith. Why?

For me, it was because I could not understand pain and suffering. If God was good, how could He allow all this junk in my life? I remember going to my pastor's wife for help with this question. However, I felt she criticized me for my lack of faith rather than help me comprehend God's ways. So I didn't return to her for counseling; instead I turned to my friends who seemed to understand my confusion. Sadly, they weren't walking strong in their own faith and inadvertently led me further away from God.

For seven years I walked in a desert of destructive sin.

Finally, after years of frustrated living, Jesus drew me back to Him. It wasn't a big church event. It wasn't a friend who witnessed to me about my sins. It was the Spirit of God who nudged me back to being a devoted follower of Christ. It wasn't mystical. It was not full of fireworks—it occurred in a Volkswagen Jetta in the parking lot of Knott's Berry Farm. It was just Jesus reconnecting with His lost lamb because of the prayers my mother prayed for me.

I do believe wholeheartedly that my mother's prayers were answered. Her prayers never wavered. Her love never failed. She persevered when the future looked bleak for her eldest child's faith walk. Never underestimate the power of a parent's prayer. Our key verse declares, "The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results." If you are a parent of a wandering child, hold fast to this verse in your mind and pray for your child.

God hears. He answers. I know this to be true because I was child who wandered, but was brought back by the fervent prayers of a praying parent and the loving hand of God.

Dear Lord, give me the strength and faith to keep praying for my child. Help me understand, though it might take years, You are a God who hears and answers the prayers of a praying parent. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

Divine Prayers for Despairing Parents: Words to Pray When You Don't Know What to Say by Susanne Scheppmann

Visit Susanne’s Blog

Raising a Spiritually Strong Daughter: Guiding Her Toward a Faith That Lasts by Susie Shellenberger

Find more encouragement with Spiritual Warfare and Praying for Our Kids

Application Steps:
Determine to pray for your child at least one minute every day. Ask God to touch your wandering child's heart. Determine not to give into despair and doubt. At the close of your prayer recite today's key verse.

Do I blame myself for my child's wandering?

Have I given up on the effort of praying for my child?

Power Verses:
1 Timothy 1:16, "But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life." (NIV)

Luke 15:4-6, "What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?" When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'" (NASB)

Luke 15:20, "So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him." (NIV)

© 2010 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the mother of a 45 year old son who has wandered I totally understand the heartbreak. He talks a good talk at times but does not provide a role for his children. He is one of three boys and his father was a pastor. The other two are walking in the faith every day.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great message! Even though my boys are just 4 and 2, I pray for them everyday. Right now, I'm praying for obedience and faith for them and that they will walk with the Lord all the days of their lives. God has used the messages on this site to mold and shape me. They are always exactly what I need to hear. Thanks.

Blogger eph2810 said...

Marvelous thoughts this morning! Thank you so much for sharing your journey.
I will 'write' the verse on my heart.

Love & peace,

Blogger Mari said...

Needed this immensely. Thanks so much for the encouragement. It's hard to see your adult children who were once on fire for God, to totally abandon their faith and obedience. I will keep praying.

Blogger Elaine said...

Thanks Susanne. I too strayed from my faith in my twenties. And now I have sons who have done the same. Today you encouraged me to stay faithful in prayer. Thanks.

Blogger mary said...

Thank you for your wisdom. This is an answer to my prayer "Lord what should I do or not do to help my children become close to You?" Pray & pray some more!
Blessing & Peace Mary

Anonymous Jer. 29:11 Believer said...

Praying for 3 children ages 23, 17 and 12. Todays message reminds me I can never take a day off from bringing all three before Christ in prayer. This world is too dangerous to not wrap your children up in prayer every morning before they leave the house. Todays children have so many more distractions than we had when we were kids. The devil is here to kill, steal and destroy and he already has the unbelievers in his control, that's why he fights so hard to gain control of the believers. Keep praying. They will thank you someday!

Anonymous reenasong said...

Thank you so much for this encouraging word today. I have no doubt that my daughter is being wooed by the Holy Spirit each day and these words have given me more hope and trust in the Lord's marvelous working. She belongs to the Lord and i have to keep my heart and mind set on Him so He can continue all that He sees fit to accomplish. She is 34 & is expecting her 1st child -- she is daily covered with prayers. We all want the best for her and her beloved. We believe they will give honor to God and be married before the baby is born. I stand in faith that God is Able...I praise the Lord for your ministry of love, truth and peace.

Blogger Beth said...

This is my testimony nearly word for word. Thank the Lord for my praying father!

Blogger Cassie said...

I too wandered. I think a lot of it has to do with all the legalism and rules that we surround people with. I didn't feel like I was doing all the things on the list to be a perfect Christian. It took me a long time to realize that He just loves me as I am and where I'm at.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now. Keep it up!
And according to this article, I totally agree with your opinion, but only this time! :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been struggling with the fact that both my children have strayed from the faith they were raised with. This article is truly a gift from God- a renewal for my dry and thirsty heart. Praise the Lord for your timely post.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great devotion today!!! I am a 23 year old preachers daughter who strayed a couple of years ago and I know that my family prayed that the Lords will would be done in my life and I am so thankful for the power in prayer and for the most amazing Godly parents who never gave up on me. I am back involved in our church now and it is such a blessing to have not only a church family again but to have that close relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ!!! Now I pray for my child who is 2 to always keep the Lord the center of his life. Thank you for your devotion it spoke to my heart!!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow!! God is so amazing!! Our family has really been in a struggle this past year. I feel like just finding a corner and bawling my eyes out from the frustration, and struggle that we are going through. I have been so burdened for our son who will be 20 in a few months. He has strayed so far from God. This devo has giving me a "booster shot" of rememberance of how awesome and wonderful God is. I just need to remember it is in His will and timing not mine!! Thank you!

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This verse should be an encouragement to pray for anyone, not just you children, but a spouse or any other loved one whom needs to put God back in the center of their life. It was an encouragement to me for more than just my prayer for my children, but my spouse too.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the struggle I have with this verse, is that I don't think I'm a righteous woman. I'm a sinful, weak, damaged and unfinished work of God, with a broken and wicked heart, prone to wander myself, though not behaving outwardly like my 17 year old who's really struggling and in pain. How can I become stronger in my faith and be more righteous so my prayer can be more effective and I can become a better help to my son? By praying, I think. I believe the first wonderful result effective prayers of accomplish is to him more righteous as he seeks God's will in his prayers. And yes, only the Lord can give me the strength and faith to keep praying for my son. So I pray for Him to grant me the strength and faith that I'm so lacking.


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