Parenting 401 according to the Prodigal’s Father

The parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-24 gives us difficult but effective counsel on parenting, “To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. 12The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.

“A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.

“When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’

“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, 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. 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.’ So the party began.


Notice the phrase, “But no one gave him anything.”  As a parent, this is one of the most difficult things we have to do: allow our children to suffer the consequences of their own actions.  We don’t want to see them suffer. Sometimes out of our own pride we sabotage what the Lord is doing in their lives by rescuing them before they come to their senses.


A few years ago, I did a little research on this parable and found that for a Jewish young man to ask for their inheritance was like saying to their father, “I wish you were dead!”  It would have been extremely humiliating for the father in the sight of all the family and in the eyes of the citizens of the land. However, this father allowed the plan to unfold, swallowed his pride and subjected both himself and his son to public ridicule.  He could have privately tried to reason with his son, offering him a portion to “sow his wild oats”  but he did not.  Neither did he chase after his son, nor did he facilitate his son’s bad behavior by extricating him from the consequences of his decisions and choices.

Maybe the father knew Psalm 139:7-12.  And maybe he prayed these scriptures over his son every day and waited for his return…”My son can never escape from your Spirit!  He can never get away from your presence!  If he goes up to heaven, you are there; if he goes down to the grave, you are there.  If he rides the wings of the morning, if he dwells by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide him, and your strength will support me.  If he could ask the darkness to hide him and the light around him to become night—but even in darkness he cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day.  Darkness and light are the same to you.”

Take heart praying mother! Even in darkness, our kids can’t hide from His Presence.  Proclaim that in your prayer closet.

Comments are closed.