Maybe you are a parent with teenagers or adult children that are living destructive lives. Can you identify with this dad and mom?
“Pastor Miller, thanks for coming over on short notice. My wife and I appreciate it. We are at a loss and don’t know what to do with our son, Tom. We just can’t handle it anymore. He’s an adult and has been out on his own for a while. For years we’ve dealt with his unpredictable behavior and have tried everything. He wasn’t raised this way. Pastor, what else can we do? Where did we go wrong?”
Long ago there was a great King who had a wayward adult son who brought waves of grief to his heart. The life of King David’s son, Absalom, was filled with selfishness, arrogance and cruelty. The story that symbolizes his lawless life is when, in a patient, premeditated and vengeful fashion, he murdered his brother. In cold blood he took his life, then turned and fled his father’s Kingdom. The tragic event was the beginning of David’s downhill relationship with Absalom. Things never improved, but eventually ended with even more tragedy when Absalom was murdered in cold blood as well. In response to learning of his wayward son’s early and needless death, David grieved as any parent can understand, crying out, “O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!” (2 Samuel 19:4)
David was considered “a man after God’s own heart” yet, had a son who lived a lawless life. If it can happen to him, it can happen to any parent. Let me share six prayers you can consider praying over the difficult relationship with your adult children.
1) Pray and ask God to show you any parts of your life that may have influenced your child’s behavior toward the harmful choices they are making. No doubt, at some point, David realized that his adulterous affair with Bathsheba was a negative influence on Absalom’s life.
2) Pray and ask God for forgiveness for the things you may have allowed in your life that was harmful to your child. Then by faith, release any feelings of guilt to Him and receive His joy and peace.
3) Pray and ask God to help you accept that no matter what happened in the past, between you and your child, they are ultimately an adult and are solely responsible before God for their behavior.
4) Pray and ask God to help you release your adult children into His hands, stepping away from constantly rescuing him or her and trying to make up for the failures in the past.
5) Pray and ask God to help you forgive your child for the pain he or she has caused, and to show sincere love and undeserved kindness, just as God has shown you.
6) Pray and ask God to transform your life that you might be the parent or grandparent that you never were in your earlier years. Ask God to restore what was lost and change your family tree.
There is hope for any family in crisis and it begins with Jesus. The greatest enemy of the family is sin. Jesus suffered, died and rose again to defeat sin. When you turn to Christ, His Spirit will come to dwell within you and give you the power, day by day, to live victoriously and overcome hell’s vicious onslaughts against your family.
Victory for your wayward son or daughter begins with Christ in you, then Christ in them. Jesus is greater than drugs, alcohol, mental illness, criminal behavior or any other form of recklessness.
May the words spoken to a dad and his family centuries ago, by the Lord Jesus Himself, be spoken to you in the days ahead, “Today salvation has come to this house” (Luke 19:9).
A prayer for you – “Lord God, I pray for peace in homes where children have headed down a path of destruction. Give hope to parents who feel at a loss and do not know where to go and what to do. Show yourself as a rock of refuge and a shelter in a time of trouble. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
–Clint Decker is President with Great Awakenings. Hope for Today is a nationally syndicated column. Share your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. Go to greatawakenings.org to be on Clint’s email list.