Child Adrift

"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers." Luke 22:31-32 (NLT)

"My child is adrift. How do I let go?" my friend asked with tear-filled eyes.
"You hold on with a tether of prayer," I replied.

Our goal as parents is to raise our children to be independent, faith-filled adults. We teach them right from wrong. We educate them about God and the Bible. We exhibit table manners and good sportsmanship. We demonstrate compassion and empathy for humanity. We subtly point them in the direction of what we suspect will bring them happiness and success. Then they grow-up and seem to drift away from everything we have taught them.

Sometimes, no matter how great the parenting, some children flounder in adulthood. They wander into uncharted territory to test their independence. What's a parent to do then? If the child is of legal age, the best thing a parent can do is to pray. Our key verse demonstrates that this is how Jesus dealt with Simon Peter when he was about to fall into fear and doubt concerning his faith and love for God. Jesus didn't scold, plead or rebuke him. Jesus simply said, "But I have pleaded in prayer for you."

Jesus prayed with complete confidence in the power of God to bring Simon Peter back into the faith and fellowship with the other believers. My favorite part of today's key verse is when Jesus stated, "So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers." Many times when a child wanders away from family and faith, we tend to see it as only a negative. However, Jesus saw Simon's weakness in a different light. Jesus knew that after Simon drifted, he would come back stronger in his walk of faith than before. Simon would be able to strengthen other people.

As we pray for our children, their faults, foibles, and faith frailties, let's remind ourselves that these very things may be exactly what God will use for him or her to help others. It is through personal mistakes that our children can learn compassion and empathy for people—especially those who struggle in similar areas. So, as we pray, let's be encouraged by the knowledge that God never wastes a painful experience. He will use drifting children to minister to a hurting world. So go right now and tether your child to God with a lifeline of prayer.
Dear Lord, my child is adrift in a frightening world. Teach me how to pray for my child. Remind me that the most effective thing I can do is to plead for him/her before the throne of God. Help me to convert my worry into prayer. I thank You that You understand my feelings and I can trust in Your sovereignty in my child's life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

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Application Steps:
Find a notebook or prayer journal and begin to journal your prayers for your child. Date each prayer. Every time you begin to feel stress and anxiety over your child's behaviors, write a prayer. In addition, as you see promises of hope and change in your son or daughter, jot them down as a reminder when you feel discouraged and overwrought that God is indeed at work.

Read Divine Prayers for Despairing Parents as an additional resource of hope.

Do I believe that prayer is the most effective way to handle my wayward child?

How can I remind myself to pray instead of worry?

When my child turns around, how will he/she be able to strengthen other people?

Power Verses:
Romans 12:12 "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." (NIV)

John 17:15, "My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one." (NIV)

Psalms 27:13-14, "I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." (NIV)

© 2010 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous ericalynb said...

Amen. May we be faithful in prayer!
Thank you for the gift of encouragement to cast our cares and concerns for our kids on Him - He really does care for us and our kids.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this devotional this morning. It is always so amazing how God uses these devotionals to speak right to my heart, confirm he heard my prayer, and to let me know that he knows all about my struggles and problems. About 30 minutes before reading this, I was folding a load of laundry, and thinking about my son and some choices he has made.. I said a simple little prayer that he and his girlfriend will begin going to church again.. As I sit here reading this, I know it's a GOD sign!! Thanks again for allowing him to use you!!

Blogger Eileen said...

Thank you for this. I was a drifter who came back. And, like you said so beautifully, God is able to work with our mess-ups and use them for His glory. I have a little boy and I know that as he grows older and makes his own choices that all I will be able to do sometimes is pray for Him. But that's BIG!

Blogger Bing Boettner said...

Thanks so much for this encouragement. Our daughter has made some poor choices and I struggle with how to relate to her. This was a reminder of God's faithfulness and the power of prayer. Bing

Blogger Becca said...

I am struggling with a teen boy and we have parent-teacher conferences looming today. You have reminded me of an important piece of what parenting this child means right now. Thank you for giving me words to pray, for so often lately I have no words of my own. I will keep your prayer in my journal to come back to when my own words fail me.

Blogger Antique Mommy said...

My kiddo is about to be 7. I am sure I will reflect on and take comfort in your words in the coming years.

Blogger Glynnis Whitwer said...

I love the message in this verse you chose. Thank you for pointing it out and for the excellent message of hope for all parents.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also know that turning the child over to God, He will do what is BEST for your child, not always what YOU want HIM to do. Just TRUST that what God does IS for the BEST.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Sherry for sending this to me! Lord Jesus Christ Have Mercy on our children!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this! I am in much pain. My adult daughter is a prodigal and has been now for almost 2 years. The pain seems so unbearable at times. Only a mother who has a prodigal can really understand , but others can at least pray. And if they have lost someone they loved , then they can understand.
No contact and rejection is very hard for a mother after the bonding that happens with that child.
I am spending much time in prayer with my LORD and He is able to bring her , the lost lamb, back to the fold and strengthen her again in His ways.
I know He is able.
He is the God of all flesh and nothing is too hard for HIM!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen and amen. We must be faithful in prayer. The Holy Spirit can do more in a minute in the lives of those that we love,than years of words from us. The Lord really spoke so strongly to me about this about a year ago. He instructed me to pray for my sons eternal not their material. Trusting Him with the rest. He is faithful.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thank the Lord for bringing me to this message of yours - to remember that we should always trust Him to lead under all circumstance, to be prayerful always. A bad incident just happened in my country, a group of boys (between 18-21) just stabbed a 19 yr old in a busy shopping mall 2 days ago. The 19 yr old died from his wounds, the only reason it started was because of a "staring incident" ! I was determine to see that the murderers get their justice, but when they were caught, my heart grieves for them - they were so frightened and one of them got seriously hurt while running away from the police. I can only pray that they repent and God have mercy on them regardless of whatever outcome they may face.

Blogger Unknown said...

I keep coming back to this post. My daughter has made some poor choices and has hurt us almost beyond what I could have ever imagined. She ran away from home at 17. When we found her, we couldn't bring her home because she was of "legal" age. I enrolled her in school and took her to update her immunizations and got all her eyes and teeth checked while she was still on our insurance. I set up her bus schedule so she could get herself to school. She ended up moving in with a boy, getting pregnant, and dropping out of her senior year of highschool. Fast forward 2 years, and the baby is here and her romance with this boy has turned to domestic violence to which she keeps going back to. We have tried to help, but her husband resents us because of our faith and for the unconditional love we have for our daughter. He convinced her to move with him out of state and cut off ties with us. I haven't seen my daughter and grandchild in 2 months now. Her birthday was Nov. 3 and it was so very hard for me not seeing her. I miss her smile and her hugs! I called her to wish her happy birthday and she was so vague on the phone. I still don't know where she's at for sure. All I can do is pray for her. Please pray for her too!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My son has been married for 5 yrs. To a women who I truly believe is bi-polar, and in all honesty I have to admit my son has had his fair share of behavior problems too. They also have 2 of the most beautiful children in the world. There not enough money or love to make these 2 happy, they treated my husband and myself and even the rest of family so badly no one could stand it. So now if I hear anything at all it's just calls of profanity and I hate you. "My heart" hurts so badly. no one understands I "LOVE MY SON". I do find peace 98% of the time in prayer. But sometimes I wish the Lord would send me just a little more patients. I know I cannot begin to understand what he has planned for me or my son. But my heart is full with The Lords love and the promise that "He has made everything beautiful in its time.

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