Wayward Children

Nothing breaks a parent's heart more than living with a disobedient child. After investing so much time teaching godly values and academics, homeschooling parents are especially discouraged when their children refuse to live according to God's Word.

The life of Samson is a prime example of a disobedient child in the Old Testament. Although his parents had raised him according to the Levitical laws of a Nazirite, a life that was to be holy and pure, Samson's life was far from righteous. Following a path of sinful pleasures that led him far from God and his parents, Samson suffered blindness and slavery as consequences of his sin. Eventually, Samson did repent, and God renewed his strength to destroy the Philistines who had tried to destroy him (Judges 13-16).

Is your house in turmoil because one of your children has chosen the wrong path? Do you lie awake at night and pray that God will honor Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it?" If so, don't stop praying for his heart to come back to the Lord. Your intercessory prayers do make a difference against the evil that would destroy him. Intercede for your child's soul in the powerful name of Jesus and the blood He gave on the cross. "Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins" (James 5:19-20).

Jesus, I don't know what to do for my disobedient child. All I can see today is the pain he is causing our family. Open my eyes to see the battle for his soul and use me to intercede in prayer. Thank You for the victory only You can give. In Your precious name, Amen.

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Comments(33 comments)

RANAE S 08/10/2009 02:38:07

This daily focus is testament to how God works to bring us encouragement when we need it. I was working early this morning and praying to God about my sons. One in particular that has really turned away from God to live a life of sin. When I got home I logged on and this was posted in my email.This post just reminds me to keep praying for him and remember our hope is in Jesus. Thank you and praise be to God the father who uses things like this to lift up His children.


08/10/2009 06:30:03

All I can say is thank you. Many, many days your devotional is just what my heart needs. Often times it's what my brain needs too...to help keep things hopeful & in perspective. But, to see today's prayer & scriptural reminder of God's promise, as well as just some practical words was a real soul-soother this morning.

We have a daughter who is lost--really, no one understands unless they've suffered a prodigal. Passive or ignorant comments abound. So, thank you for todays encouragement.

AUDRA C 08/11/2009 06:54:25

Thank you so much for the encouraging words. It was just what I needed to hear. My 2 homeschool'd boys are still struggling to finish the school year because of their "disobedience". I read this to both of them & pray it does not fall on deaf ears. I will continue to pray for my children.

CINDY C 08/10/2010 07:26:14

Wow..this is exactly what I needed to be reminded of today. I just signed up yesterday to get these devotionals and even though inellectually, I understand that God is in control and I need to constantly be in prayer as our battles are with the evil forces, but emotionally I can become discouraged. We are struggling as well and our heart is broken as we watch our 20 yr. old son choose what the world is offering him and the huge mistakes he is making and the unproductive life he is living. We have had to practice some tough love recently and have to seek God's strength daily!

I see we are not alone even though we feel that way some days! My prayer today is for the other's who have left comments and may we all keep each other lifted up on prayer. God's Blessings!

JODI C 08/10/2010 12:19:48

I just want to say thank you.

DEBORAH J 08/11/2010 07:32:31

I thank God for your daily focus. I have a 21 yr old daughter that is turning away from God and doing things I never thought she would. I pray everyday for her eyes to see what she is doing and that she will return unharmed if possible. It is just breaking my heart to see what she is doing to herself. Some days I become discouraged and I have to grasp hold of God's promises even stronger, not just for her, but for me also, so I can get through this terrible time we are going through. Please pray for my daughter Tasha and our family. Thank you very much!

SANDY M 08/11/2010 09:29:31

Thank you. I am reading this as I feel we are waging a battle for my "daughter in my heart". Her mother is pulling her one way and we are pulling the other. I am feeling God say "Let Go", but it is so painful. I know I cannot love her to be "whole" only God can. Thanks for the other comments. It is hard to understand unless you have suffered this way. I am thankful for the comfort of Jesus.

KIM P 08/10/2011 04:33:22

I've been receiving these devotionals for almost a year now and am always encouraged by them. While I do not have a wayward child at this point (my kids are 5 and 2 but my 5-year-old is pretty defiant on most days!), I pray daily for my kids and other loved ones to know Christ and follow Him with their whole heart. We have no idea what God has planned for them and I pray God will give our hearts the longsuffering we need to wait upon Him.

This morning I just read Psalm 13 in my quiet time and it is the perfect companion for anyone who has sorrow in their heart and is waiting for God. David is so honest and real - he starts the psalm by asking "How long O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?" I encourage you to read the rest of the psalm - very comforting in light of this devotional! Praying today for parents of prodigals!

MARY B 08/10/2011 04:52:51

Thank you for today's devotional. I really needed it. Sometimes I feel all alone and embarrassed that our oldest daughter who is 18 has abandoned her faith and turned her back on our family and all we taught her. It is a great comfort to know we are not alone. Thank you for the Bible verse and the reminder to keep praying, and to leave the results up to God. I pray that all of our children will repent and return to faith in Christ. Thank you.

LISA B 08/10/2011 05:15:00

I would just like to encourage those out there with wayward children...

I wasn't raised in a Christian home but I wasn't from a broken home, either.

My dad was away a lot working and my mom was apparently going thru some very difficult emotional times and couldn't be there for me. I found myself at war with the very person I needed to turn to as a teenage girl.

So - I turned to my friends and began looking for a guy to love me.

I found my husband at the age of 13. That could have gone badly - I could have found a succession of boys and men all thru those years but I didn't. However, I was a liar, a thief, and very sexually active with him from the age of 14. Eventually I became involved with the occult.

The Good Lord eventually pulled me out of all of that and I think it goes to show that He doesn't just save "nice" people. He often shows His glory by saving those of us who seem rather unlikely candidates for His kingdom.

I don't know if anyone ever prayed for me. But don't stop praying for your prodigal loved ones or for those you come across who have never known Him. They need those prayers. And don't turn them away from God by showing your disapproval to them for who they are. Love them as Jesus loves them. The rich young ruler turned away from Jesus - but He still loved him - scripture says. Bless them, pray for them, love them, forgive them...and we will show God's love to them. And certainly, as you feel led by God, witness to them. Don't shove Jesus down their throats or you will harden their hearts - but be salt and light.

We can only do this with the help and grace of God.

CHESCA C 08/10/2011 05:21:52

Hello all! I never comment but today i will. I can't beging to express my thanks in these devotionals i am inspired and challeged to grow in my faith, i have found every one of them speaking to me. this one is so encouraging. My oldest was only homeschooled for one year and is now 16 and walking a life i don't think he even imagined. I try to remind him Jesus is just one step away but he is not yet willing to live the life submitted to God. Prayer is everything. Homeschooling is no guarantee but as i am now homescooling my 5 year old and hopefully the rest after i do believe it gives them a better chance to bloom and grow in the things of God without as many weeds of the world crowding them out before they develop their own root system. Blessings all!

LISA H 08/10/2011 05:40:46

I am reminded again and again at how the Lord ALWAYS hears our prayers. I was in the middle of writing a letter to my 18 year old daughter who has turned away from the Lord and has refused to speak to me for almost 3 months, when I decided to take a few minutes to check my email. When I read today's devotion I immediately thanked God for His perfect timing!

My heart is broken as I know my daughter is suffering greatly by the choices she is making. She moved out and has chosen to turn to those people in our family who are living of the world and reject Gods truth.

I am encouraged by the comments of those that have written today and I thank you for sharing.

Please pray for my daughter Kellee. That the Lord will impress upon her heart to turn away from Satan and return to Him, which is ultimately coming home.

SARA C 08/10/2011 05:50:38

The devotionals usually help me in some way, but today's Wayward Children truly hit home. Our 18 almost 19 year old went to the public high school so he could play football, but unfortunately has fallen into a lifestyle that includes "friends" who don't attend and families don't attend any church. Because of his age, we are in the process of moving him out of our home due to his destructive behavior. Thank you for the reminder about Samson. My prayer has been that he doesn't destroy himself or ruin his chances to go where the Lord would like him to go, but I can't see what or how the Lord will do with and for him. My son just may have to lose his strength and his sight in order to see God

PATTI H 08/10/2011 07:23:51

This is amazing! I was just in tears this morning praying for my very wayward daughter and this was like a message directly from God Himself!

LINDA A 08/10/2011 07:53:56

This was particularly helpful today. My 14-yr-old daughter has been raised with godly values and she'd accepted the Lord of her own accord when she was 6. However, I'm deeply concerned about her choices in music and the types of movies and TV shows she's been exposed to (at others' homes) and enjoys. She tends to watch most of those when she's away from home and gets restless with what I do allow her to watch here.

MELAINA F 08/10/2011 09:22:19

Thank you for your devotional as well as all the Mom's comments. We have 3 sons, but the older two...19 and 17 are really struggling and rebelling. We are so burdened for them and pray constantly for them. Just this morning, we, once again, surrendered our sons to the Lord and put them in His hands....the best place they could be!

JESSICA L 08/10/2011 11:03:00

I just love this site! I want to let everyone here struggling with wayward children to grasp faith and the promises of God. I was the very wayward daughter of Godly parents. I did things that embarrassed my family and even more and worse things that only God knows about. I did alot of different drugs including meth, cocain, heroin and acid. I was very sexually active as well as a thief and liar. I think while my parents broke many generational curses there were still some that they let lie dormant because they weren't an issue at the time. My brothers are still pretty messed up but I can see the hand of our Precious Saviour Jesus in their lives even now. My parents prayed for me always, they didn't lecture or try to manipulate me, they prayed. My parents also didn't let me run all over them either. As I have read all the comments thus far, I have taken time to pray for all of you. Don't despair, the Spring of your childrens redemption is comming! I have five kids of my own now and even though they are all under 10 I pray this prayer everyday... "God protect my children from the plans the devil has to destroy them, turn his schemes for your glory. Bless my children with wisdom and insight so that they can see the battle clearly and won't be decieved. Fill them with an overwhelming desire for your presents, love and peace. Forgive me my mistakes and cover my areas of poor leadership with your blood. I pray that they will honor You all the days of their lives, Amen!"

MARY H 08/10/2011 11:12:27

My heart is encouraged as I read this devotional. Reading everyone's comments has me in tears, as I too know the pain of a wayward child.

Our daughter is 23 and was homeschooled all her life. This was no guarantee that she would chose the right path, but I thought it was. I too, have clung to the verses that God promises, that our daughter will someday return to him. I feel deep in my hear,t though I have realized more than ever, I need Christ to be my savior from the despair that comes when this happens.

It also helps me to understand that my adult child, apart from me, needs a savior, as do all my children. It is in this that I have to let go of being the spiritual director and caretaker of their worlds. I think this is what hurts so bad... I used to be in control of their lives and now I sit helpless.

BUT I love this pressing on with prayer, going to the ONE that can HELP and lead them to HIMSELF. Thank you for reminding me that I have a new job, PRAYER WARRIOR.

LISA N 08/10/2011 13:18:03

Wow! This hits so close to (or should I say IN) our home. I struggle with this daily. My step-son, whom I hate to call my "step" son has been in my care since he was 4yrs old. His mother has been in and out of his life, yet he still believes her way is better. He shows no desire to be a Christian and is against every rule we have. He is bothered by so many things, especially now that he has, for the first time in over 5 years, spent a month with her. I pray that God would remove her from our lives if she is not willing to guide him right. I am not sure that is alright to pray that way. I try to be a light to by constantly turning the other cheek, yet at the same time not allowing more than we have to. He is so resentful, and is so hard to work with most days, especially when it comes to schooling. I love him dearly! I just wish he could understan what true love is. It does help me to know that others who love the Lord and are training their children in His ways do also have this same issue. I feel alone sometimes in this situation. My husband doesn't see nearly as much as I do, so he doesn't fully understand. Thank you. I needed this encouragement today. I do confess, I have at times thought about giving up. Just like the woman with the unjust judge. I will continue to pursue with a just God.

DANIELLE M 08/10/2011 18:51:55

I have been receiving these devotionals to my email for months and, to be completely honest, I have not taken the time to read them like I should. For some reason tonight, I feel like the Lord led me to opening this particular devotional to read. It was like it was written specifically for me and for what my family is going through right now with our oldest child. He is 16 and has been showing a great deal of self-destructive behavior with all of the choices that he has been making. This has encouraged me to continue to pray for him. He has 4 younger siblings that are all watching the things that he is doing and it feels like our home has been continuously disrupted by him.

KAREN N 08/10/2011 19:01:39

Thank you so much!! I have been praying for three years for my 22 year old daughter. She use to pray and and minister to her friends and was a very awesome young lady till she met the wrong boy who claims to be a Christian. He often uses the phrase "God intended for us to be together."

She has not and is not as on fire for the Lord as she once was. She dropped out of college and we are struggling trying to get her to stay at a tech school. During all of this, my Christian in laws got involved and have made things MUCH worse. We were so betrayed by our own family. Things have slowly healed but the wounds are deep. I pray for the youth of our nation and world to be strong against the ploy of the enemy.

FAITH W 08/11/2011 13:08:47

I was one of those wayward children and now I am raising my 4 children just like my mom raised me, according to God's Word. Prayer works, ask my mom (-:

DESIREE M 09/14/2011 06:18:14

I know God hears us and our help comes from the Lord! My eldest daughter is a work in progress. I have put her in God's hands along with my granddaughter. Help us all Father.

CHERYL G 08/02/2012 08:59:34

I have found that in addition to prayer, it really helps to let your child know that you are there to listen to him. He may be struggling with a lot of pain and needs his family to listen. Even teenagers want to speak to their parents, or at least be heard by them. My kids tend to turn away when we mention the pain they cause us so I've learned that it is crucial to keep my pain to myself and be a container for theirs. They have hearts, minds and pain of their own so why do they need they burden of my worries? Listen to your children non-judgmentally, and try to understand them and the world as they see it. When you can do this, you are in a position to help them. Thanks to G-d, I listened before it was too late and all is well (actually better than I payed for).

KATHY S 08/10/2012 07:46:55

I was an awful, awful, teenager/young adult.

My Mother never stopped praying for me. She has so much faith. My Dad was never much for church,but, he had a heart for me through this time as he was a rebellious teen too.

The one thing they both had in common, they never gave up on me.

Be hopeful all that are suffering, by my twenties I was much better, and finally even though I prayed the sinners prayer around age 20, I finally gave my "heart" and my "Will" to Jesus at age 33.

I was pregnant at the time, taken in at my brother's home, and with no where else to go, no one else to look to, I finally gave up my own ways and asked God for his.

Sometimes the Lord will allow us to get to the point of despair, in order to bring us to him and "Save" us.

My son, although he has had a ton of handi caps, is a teen now and gives me almost no trouble.

My Mom see's how well behaved he is, and I'm sure wishes I had been that way too. But, she still loves me and prays for me and my son, and we, pray for her too!

My Dad I'm sure watching us from heaven (he was saved at age 74 on his death bed in the hospital) I'm sure is pleased how well behaved his one and only Grandson is.

Today I have prayed for each and every one of those who has written in and is going through "trials" with their children.

I ask you to please pray for my neice, she has turned away from my brother now for 3 years. He is a good Father and a Good Christian man. She is 18 now and off to College. I pray that there God will send others who may help to "soften" her heart towards her Father. Unfortunatley, my brothers wife left him for a wealthier man when my neice was young. Even though my brother spent every minute he wasn't at work with her, she still lived with her Mother and Stepfather. I believe some of their influences have rubbed off on her to make her behave this way. No matter, God can fix anything! Please pray for her ! Thank you and May God take care of all those who are lost at this time, and pour his blessings out upon everyone who has read this devotional.Amen.

PATTI B 08/10/2012 15:22:07

The Lord just showed me this in a vision last Sunday:

Today during worship the Lord showed me a vision of the name Jesus being written on someone\'s heart. Jesus was being written in cursive with a cauterizing tool that looked like a pencil. At first the pencil seemed to just effortlessly glide over the heart and formed the cursive letter J with ease. Then the \"e\" and the \"s\" seemed to require more effort as if the surface was dry where the surface was wet and glossy over the J. At the end of the \"s\" the writing just stopped. The writing seemed to be delayed for a while. When the pen started again it seemed to kind of jump and make 2 small dots then it started to write again and completed the name of Jesus on the person\'s heart. The Lord then directed my attention to a little girl dancing in the church. She was spinning around and twirling like a ballerina she seemed to have a love and a heart for God. The Lord then reminded me of my children when they were young and they had a passion for Christ. Our lives can start out pure and our hearts burn for Christ it is this time when the Lord is able to burn his impression on our hearts. When we get older and become tempted and led away from Christ it is then that the pen gets more difficult. The pause comes when we stop seeking Jesus and his guidance in our lives. This can be for what ever reason...misunderstanding, sin, anger toward God, temptation etc. The dots represent a bumpy start when the person starts to let Christ move in their lives again and the fact that the writing was completed shows that God\'s word is true. He will complete what he started in us....or train up a child in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it.

Philippians 1:6 (NIV)

6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Proverbs 22:6

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

If you spent your life taking your children to church. Allowing them to dance before the Lord pouring understanding into them you are providing an atmosphere for Jesus to build a love relationship with your child and start to write his name on their heart. If it seems for a season that the relationship has stopped continue to pray for your child and trust God\'s word that promises when they are old they will not depart from it. Believe that they will one day allow Jesus to start writing on their hearts again and tattooing a love letter each day in their heart for him.

NANCY S 08/10/2012 18:44:46

From the overwhelming response to this topic, we can conclude that we struggle with rebellion in our children and families. As a guardian grandparent, I can testify that God alone is our strength and refuge as we raise and homeschool two hurt and often angry grandchildren. But God is faithful; He has wonderful plans for these children and He will hold us together. We prayed for the prodigal parent of these children for 28 years before he returned to the Lord and began facing responsibilities. Never stop praying! Nancy S.

Jody F 08/10/2012 21:42:28

So many of us are struggling in this area it seems! How encouraging this devotional this was to me at a time when I feel so inadequate as a parent. Although I seldom have time for these devotionals, the title on this one drew me in at a time when I really needed lifting up. Thank you for that!

BARBARA B 08/11/2012 07:04:30

I have seen this devotional twice this week. I accidentally found it on your website. I read this to my son. He has given me a hassle over his school work for the last 1 1/2 years. Even to a point the stress (and lack of certain vitamins) put me into atrial fibulation two times during this. I am doing better but he is still being stubborn on his school work, choirs and attitude. My son thought I wrote this until I convinced him that you guys did. It really made him stop and think about what he had be doing. I couldn\'t get through to him but this some how did. I\'m hoping to have a much better year. I think I found this message was accidentally sent to me twice because God was sending me help. This is our 4th year of homeschooling and I need to get my 5 year old started. I did not want to homeschool but God told me to. I have loved it up until this last year and I have dreaded it since. He sent me what I needed through this email. Thank you very much for this devotion!

LETITIA H 08/11/2012 07:16:06

I thank Messiah I\'m not a parent. It must hurt so much more than when other family and friends are Lost a/o prodigal. I pray He gives u His peace & joy.


MARYJOY A P 08/14/2012 10:52:27

I walked away from the Lord as a young adult, but the Lord in His faithfulness pursued me. I now serve my Lord through homeschooling my four children and I find I have many lessons to teach. God used even those wasted years to make me more useful for Him. So don\'t give up parents, let Christ encourage you, He won\'t give up on your children either.

Tammy Pridmore 08/07/2013 13:09:44

Thank you so much for this post.

It's been heartbreaking to see our oldest son turn away from God and the Christian values we have brought him up in. He chose to live like the world and chose friends that wanted to party. It's been a back and forth journey. He moved out at 17 because of his life style,but has since moved back in saying he would go by our rules. He's been slipping. He doesn't go to church with us on Sundays, but goes to a church my brother pastors which is ok. But some choices he's making and how he handles his money when he gets paid is leading in the wrong direction.

It seems at times we're the only parents going through this,but evidently many are.

Cindy C your comments were especially helpful. I've been thinking about practicing tough love, but am not sure where to start. Any suggestions?

Tracy Thomas 08/06/2014 16:44:28

Thank you for this devotion. It definitely came at a time when I needed it the most. We have a 14 yr. old son who is not interested in the things of God now, and is rebelling. Seeing others comments reminds me that we are not alone, and my prayers are with them as well. I am praying that God's perfect will be done in my son's life, and that He would open his eyes and ears to His truth, and to know how much He loves and cares for him. God's love and peace to y'all.

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