A Praying Momma
T. Suzanne Eller

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

Mickey's son was raised in church. He once served as a leader in his youth group. When he first started drinking, she and her husband weren't sure what to do. Then he was arrested. Then they discovered that he was using drugs. For the first time in her life, Mickey felt helpless as a mom.

Their home was a safe place where faith was lived out. And yet her son continued to spiral downward, no matter what they did. The night he broke into their small business and emptied the cash register was the bleakest night of all.

Mickey looked around the church and realized there were other moms with similar struggles. She started a Prodigal Prayer Group that met on Tuesday nights. They prayed one year, two years, and then three. Mickey saw others' children come back to their faith, but her prayers for her own son seemed to be going nowhere. Nonetheless, she continued to show up, joining in strength and support with other praying mommas.

I wish my sweet friend had a video camera recording her son through those dark days. I wish she could have seen Austin rediscover his faith, overcome his addictions, and see Austin grow into the godly man he is today.

But the reality is that Mickey didn't have a video camera. All she had was her faith. And that faith was tested over and over. She was aware of the realities of her son's choices, but she continued to pray. She continued to believe. She had to make hard choices like setting boundaries. She had to listen to other moms whose children were not straying and who did not understand her struggle.

Mickey says that during that time she began to see her son through the eyes of faith. She knew that it wasn't in her power to change her son, but that God could be her source of strength as she stayed the course.

We often say we would do anything for our children. If someone had told Mickey that it would take years of praying and believing like she did without seeing any sign of change, I wondered would she still do it? Mickey says yes, she would.

Maybe you identify with my friend. You raised your son or daughter with love. You provided a safe place. You showed them Jesus, and yet somehow they lost their way. Today I want to encourage you. The Father loves you and your child. In Jesus' story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32, NIV) we see a son who has hit rock bottom. He finally decides to go home and this is the reaction of his father:

So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long distance away, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.' But his father said to the servants, 'Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger, and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening in the pen. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found. (verses 20-24)
Jesus told this story to illustrate the love of the Heavenly Father. The beauty of a praying momma is not lost in the chaos of your child's choices. You are not alone as you pray, because He's waiting, just as you are, to welcome your child in His embrace.

Dear Father, thank You that You love my child even more than I. I am not alone. You are with me. Walk with me today. Give me Your strength. Give me renewed hope and eyes of faith. In Your powerful, precious name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

Real Issues, Real Teens: What Every Parent Needs to Know by T. Suzanne Eller. For more resources from Suzie, click here.

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

Visit Suzie’s blog where Mickey talks about her journey, and how praying with others helped.

Application Steps:
Invite others who may be interested in joining you in prayer for prodigals. Choose a time to meet.

Begin by reading the story of the prodigal son.

How does the Father feel about your child?

"Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays." Soren Kierkegaard

Power Verses:
1 Thessalonians 5:11, "So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you'll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you're already doing this; just keep on doing it." (MSG)
© 2009 by T. Suzanne Eller. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I prayed for my 20 year old son before visiting Proverbs 31 today. Our Lord Jesus has answered my prayer through your message. I know now that I need to be patient while our Lord works in my son's heart. I will be a "Praying Momma" more than ever!!! Thank you for renewing my strength today!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was worrying and getting angry about my 17 year old prodigal son this morning to the point of tears as I drove to work. We just don't know what to do anymore! So I decided to open up Proverbs 31 before I began my work today. Thank you for the encouragement. I did a 'do over' with the day and now am focusing on His love for my son and seeing him with the eyes of faith and not giving up! The scripture is copied and beside my desk and when I feel sad, I will read it and pray.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have 18 year old son with ADHD and a few months after he turned 18 he refused to obey the rules so he moved out with my mother. He is having sex with his girlfriend even though he was raised to wait. I am loosing him. He is on the wrong path and that scares me!

Thanks for encouragement I will be using the verse everyday and when I feel like I am helpless.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was the prodigal. I am a pastors daughter who made a lot of bad choices. My parents prayed for me, but my little brother would raise his hand every time they asked for prayer request and ask prayer for his sister. After 6 years, I came home, pregnant and scared to death. But God led me home...step by step. Its been 8 years since I came back, God moved in both my life and my baby's fathers life and shortly after her 1st birthday we were married. We now have 4 beautiful daughters and recently celebrated our 7 year anniversary. It hasn't all been easy, but God has guided us every step of the way. I can not count how many times I've been hugged by strangers who told me that they had been praying for me during that time in my life and how even when they thought it was hopeless, my little brother kept on asking. He was only 4 when he started, I moved home right before his 10th birthday. Just hoping to encourage those who are praying for their own prodigal.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow! you have no idea how close to home this hits. i know that i'm not alone as i struggle to help my almost 15yo son. once i think we're making progress, he reverts back. the youth group has been a big help at our church but sometimes i wonder if my son is just too much for them to handle. but i know that god will give us strength to help him on his path. i pray for all those moms out there that are in my shoes. god bless you all:-)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like the others who wrote before me, I needed this reminder that while God gave me children to raise and care for, they are ultimately HIS!!! Thank you.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a 37 year old daughter who is currently in jail for probation violation. My granddaughter (her daughter) is 18. She dropped out of school at 17 and is now living with a man and making other bad choices. I have prayed for my daughter's choices since she was a pre-teen and continue to do so. I have also prayed for my granddaughter for several years. I admit at times I grow weary in waiting, but then I remeind myself my timing and the Lord's timing are not the same. In His infinite wisdom, He has chosen to wait on answering my prayers, but that doesn't mean he has chosen not to answer. I still have faith that He will answer my prayers in their behalf. God is good all the time!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do not have a prodigal child yet but my husband is a prodigal. I found out about drugs, an affair, and other things in the past 2 months. He was physically abusive to me for the second time 2 weeks ago. I called the police. He has left our home. At the moment i do not want him to come home. I am angry and have not been able to pray for him since he left. I am encouraged that there are faithful women who are able to believe despite the vivid reality of their children's situations. may God bless you with a strength much greater than your own. May he guide me as to what i need to do and give me the faith to believe His promises.

Blogger Diane's Blog said...

I too have a prodigal daughter. She is almost 21 and was an amazing child, up until she hit 18 1/2 and moved out. She got mixed up with the wrong crowd and boyfriend and went astray. I have been praying for her since I was pregnant with her, so I admit I have been very angry. I have to give this to God daily and remember He is in control of her life. My husband is a former pastor, so she saw quite a bit in the church she didn't like, but regardless we are saddened by what she has chosen. We continue to pray for her and love her. I have daily communication with her, but it's incredibly hard to accept her lifestyle. I thank God He is teaching me so much and thank Him for this encouraging topic today. It hit me right where I needed it. Your friend's interview was also fantastic. Thank you so much for your Proverbs 31 Ministry. It has touched me in so many ways. You always seem to know just what I need, and I know that is the Holy Spirit's work in your ministry! I sent this to my sister who is struggling with her son. I pray it touches her as much as it did me. They were both dedicated to the Lord as babies, and we need to leave them there. Thank you to the girl who said she was a pastor's daughter and shared. You gave me a lot of encouragement too!!!

Anonymous Suzanne Eller said...

Thank you for your honesty and your encouragement, and your invitation to pray with you as you trust God for your children. And thank you for the beautiful post from the former prodigal daughter.

We are praying with you today, but Mickey prayed a prayer (and shared more hope) on my website today at http://tsuzanneeller.com

Suzanne Eller, P31

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the encouraging words. We can stay the course because our God is faithful even when we are faithless. He gives us the strength to carry on. No one loves our prodigals more than the Lord. By God's strength, I will keep asking, seeking, knocking for my prodigals and my many unsaved family.

Anonymous Kathy said...

It was by random that I read this a day late, but it is exactly what I needed tonight. I have a friend who, like me, just started college. We were not close before we graduated from high school, but I looked up to him. He was such a great guy, but when he started college he got mixed up with the wrong crowd. We believe that he is now into drugs, sex, and drinking. As soon as I found out I prayed for him and I continue to this day. I questioned if my praying for him this morning was doing any good, and this devotion reminded me that persistence and patience are what I need. Thank you, and should you read this, please think of all of the college students who changed and still are changing and turning away from God. May He show them the way back.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a 26 year old son who was raised in the faith. He is the oldest of six children. When he was in his third year in college (away at a christian college) he chose a homosexual lifestyle. I know there is always much controversy about whether or not that is a choice. I can tell you that I have prayed for each of my children all of their lives and I believe God has a GREAT plan for them and this lifestyle is a way for the enemy to have a foothold and try to prevent my son from serving the Lord! I am praying and believing that he will come to his senses and out of the snare of the enemy and he will serve the Lord with all of his heart soul mind and strength! God will be glorified!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a son who is 32 who has hardened his heart and is away from the Lord. He was brought up in the church. When he was a teen he was very active in the youth group. But life has always been hard for him. He has a learning disability, got his girlfriend pregnant at 19, (his son is now 13), lost his father to cancer that same year, has not been able to keep a job for very long (doesn't have one now), etc. etc. etc. He's to the point of desperation now. I fear the worse! Thank you for the "Praying Momma" devotional! It is such a blessing! The Lord brings something back to me everyday from this devotional.

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