Never Stop Praying for Your Prodigal!

Many of you have read my book Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter: Hope, Help & Encouragement for Hurting Parents, in which praying mother, Chris Adams, shares the story of praying for her prodigal daughter Alycia. While I was writing the last chapter of the book, Alycia reunited with her family and I was able to include an excerpt from Chris’ journal of their reunion. God’s timing was, as always, perfect. I wrote in the final chapter:

Chris Adams shared and wrote about her story in this book when she had no idea if her prodigal daughter was dead or alive. But just today—this very day—as I conclude this final chapter—there’s another chapter in her story of God’s amazing grace. .

Today, Alycia boldly shares her testimony with you, my blog followers. I’m so proud to introduce to you returning prodigal, Alicia Neighbors!

Prodigal drawing

I Ran From My Family and God

I started running away from my family and God when I was in my early teens. I ran because I sought acceptance, approval and an excitement I didn’t believe I had within my home. I ran because I wanted to be my own boss of my destiny and thought I could find my purpose on my own with no help from my earthly family or from a God I couldn’t see or hear.

My answer to any inward or outward conflict was flight.

My parents made the difficult decision to place me in a group home. I thought they just didn’t want me around, and for a while, played the game of the rules that were set up. Then the urge came from nowhere to run again. It wasn’t a suggestion of my mind, but a desire of my heart. Just to prove in this controlled environment that I didn’t need anyone and could once again design my life with no help from anyone else.

I Ran Into an Abusive Relationship

Years later, I found myself in a marriage full of domestic abuse that would not allow me to run. Oh, I tried to run a few times, but he made sure that I regretted it and even threatened my life if I tried it again. Before the marriage, I had a son by another man. After a few beatings from my husband and seeing his anger directed towards my son, I signed away my parental rights to my son’s natural father and took my husband’s suggestion to disappear from everyone.

For eight years, there was no contact with anyone. Often during those times, I had a strong pull to contact my parents, but I wasn’t allowed a phone or alone time away from the house. I was trapped and I began to pray that somehow a way would be made. No easy option presented itself, so I realized I was going to have to make something happen. I emailed my aunt and asked her if restoration was even possible. She encouraged me that my parents loved me deeply and I needed to heal what was broken.

A Praying Mother’s Prayers

In my mother’s prayer journal, she had written:

“After not seeing our daughter Alycia for over 8 years, and hot hearing from her in 3-4 years, I was compelled for the last couple of months to pray that God would just let us know if Alycia was alive. During the last month, Amanda, [her twin sister] unknowing of my prayers, was also searching once again for her on the Internet. She finally came across her name on an email on petfinders.com. It was a response thanking someone for returning her missing dog.

Amanda emailed me the string of emails with this information. That continued to stir my heart and prayers for Alycia. “Sleuth” Amanda, began trying to find the lady who had found the dog, and when she did, she discovered it had taken place a couple of years ago. But as Amanda continued to search, she came across a “last known” address. On Wednesday, November 1, Amanda drove to the address and knocked on the door. No one answered so she left a note saying, “If Alycia lives here, please call and just give us a phone number so we could let her know if someone in our family died.”

I stole my husband’s cell phone while he was sleeping and called my mom. We exchanged some pictures online of her one-year-old granddaughter she had not met and made plans to meet. At this same time, my twin sister had felt the pull to track me down and found the house I had just moved from. We missed each other by about two weeks. My husband was not pleased about my sneaking, but I cracked the door open and even he knew that to prevent me from going wasn’t going to end it. He did send me to the reunion meeting with a broken nose and two black eyes, but I made contact finally.

I Ran Back Into The Welcoming Arms of God and My Parents

Alycia and parentsAlicia and her parents Chris and Pat Adams

The restoration of the prodigal child and parent relationship can take time because of the trust issues formed during flight mode and absences; but it’s not beyond our God’s ability to heal. I would imagine if we sat down with a calendar, every time I felt a “pull” to go home was also the same time that my parents and others were in intense prayer for me.

In my mother’s journal about the experience, she said this

“Alycia knew nothing about my prayers or Amanda’s searching, which is why this had to be the work of the Holy Spirit nudging each of us toward one another.”

Now many years later, my parents and I have a good relationship. My marriage to the abusive man ended through widowhood, and I’m now married to a wonderful man and gained four bonus sons in addition to my three girls. My faith and love in my Heavenly Father has been restored as I allowed Him to finally bless me the way He had always wanted to. I allow His will to dictate my life and no longer feel the need to make my own way. His plan and purpose is so much better.

I have stopped running because everything I ran to—love, acceptance, family, and purpose—had been there all along. It just took my prayers and the prayers of my parents and many others to help me see this.

What do I want you to take away from all this?

1.)   Never stop praying or give up hope on your prodigal. It may be weeks, months or years, but your prayers are essential for your prodigal to feel the “pull” home.

2.)   If you still have limited contact with your prodigal, don’t let them see your bitterness or anger at their actions. Mimic God’s love and acceptance. You can verbalize you don’t like what they are doing, but you will always love them.

3.)   Your prodigal may have found themselves in a situation that does not allow them to come home or make contact. Form large prayer groups to fully cover your prodigal. More prayers, more “pull.”

 

Thank you Alycia! Her last three points, I also cover in Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter: Hope, Help & Encouragement for Hurting Parents, along with the promise that God will always give you all a testimony to share.There are discussion questions at the end of each chapter for family and support groups. My husband and I hold a support group for parents and grandparents of prodigals to give them a safe place to unite in praying for their prodigals. If you have a prodigal, please consider forming such a group.

I have support on my website to help you get started. By the way, the principles in this book apply to both daughters and sons.

Never stop praying.1 Thessalonians 5:17

 

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Comments

  1. Chris adams says:

    I’m the mom in this article and I say yes to all Alycia said! God is our hope when we feel hopeless and he’s the restorer of relationships!

    • Janet Thompson says:

      Thank you Chris for sharing your story of praying for Alycia in Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter. You and I both have the joy of seeing our prodigals return to God and to us after years of praying for them and praise God they are both godly women today who want to help others through their testimonies. I pray our stories give hope to other hurting parents. Don’t give up. God hasn’t. Keep Praying.

  2. So encouraging, Chris and Janet! I love the “more prayers, more pull” exhortation, as well as the clear theme that we should not, must not, stop praying for our kids no matter what. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Janet Thompson says:

      Thank you Julie! I meet so many parents who have given up on their kids or are “leaving it all up to God” and I try to encourage them that the parents role is to partner with God in praying for their child. Praying Scripture and praying God’s Word back to Him kept me praying for His will. Just yesterday my “prodigal’s” 8 year old daughter was baptized….another testimony of the power of prayer!

  3. Debbie says:

    I have been following Alycia’s blogs for many years. Chris your story gives me hope as 4 of my 9 kids are “lost” . I know where they are but they don’t want to have much to do with us or and a couple don’t want to speak to use. About 6 years ago we found out 3 of them were abused and didn’t tell us. They blame us for not knowing. All I can do is pray. Finding a prayer cenicle is a good idea. thanks.

    • Janet Thompson says:

      Debbie I understand your heartache. You might find comfort in my book Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter http://womantowomanmentoring.com/publications/books/#prodigal. The concept of praying God’s Word for your lost children is the same for sons or daughters. Chris Adams shared her heartache and praying for Alycia in that book. It also has questions at the end of each chapter for support groups and family. God hears your prayers. Never stop praying–1 Thes. 5:17. Thank you for sharing your heart and hurt.

    • Continued prayers as always Debbie!

  4. Looking for a support group near Kennesaw, GA

  5. Jannell Farrell says:

    My Daughter left home and moved in with her Dad in 2011 the day I was in the hospital having a hysterectomy. The rejection and heartbreak was unbearable. She said she didn’t believe in MY God and she was not going to live in a home with Bibles and Scriptures all around any longer. She wanted freedom and her Dad offered her that. She is 15 now and we have no relationship as she won’t give me the time of day. No call or text or anything for Mothers Day even. I pray but I hurt. I need to read the book referred to in this article. Need encouragement to pray and have others join in prayer too. Thank you.

    • Janet Thompson says:

      Dear Jannell, I am so sorry for the strained relationship with your daughter. I feel your pain and loss and understand the heartbreak and rejection that rips at your heart daily. I do believe the book would help you…I wrote it to walk along side other hurting parents and it helps to know that you are not alone. Alycia’s mother Chris Adams also shares their story in the book and neither of us could have ever imagined at the time that Alycia would return to Chris and to God! Our role as parents is to partner with God in bringing the lost children home by praying His Word and His will. It helps us to remember that He wants our children back even more than we do.

      There are questions at the end of each chapter for discussion in a support group. I also have helps for starting a group @ http://womantowomanmentoring.com/support/prodigals/. My husband and I lead groups in our home and it’s a safe place to share with other parents/grandparents who understand what you are going through. I’m sure there are other parents in your church who would be blessed by such a group.
      Don’t give up on her…God hasn’t. Keep praying (1 Thes 5:17).

      • Jannell,

        I don’t understand the true feelings of the parent, but as a returned prodigal, I can say without a doubt that your daughter is not LOST. God has her in her hands and the seed you planted one day will blossom. Sadly, this usually takes hitting rock bottom, but sometimes The Truth will just begin to grow and take over the freedoms that she is seeking outside your home. I am sure it doesn’t help to have another parent speaking a different truth, but God’s truth will always win in the end.
        Don’t stop praying. Pray more. Keep a prayer journal every time you need to speak to her. My mother did this and I was shocked to see that many times she was praying for me was when I was fighting my biggest demons.
        Don’t give up, your child isn’t lost….she is just rebelling and that is soon going to dissatisfy her. Keep your arms open, forgiving and at any moment available. I will be in prayer for your daughter, Jannelle.

        • Janet Thompson says:

          Right on Alycia. I also kept a prayer journal and post many of my entries in Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter. I too can go back and see how God answered. Writing your prayer requests helps to see God at work because it’s easy to forget the specifics of what we ask Him.

  6. caroline Kinman says:

    Praise God proves your faith by continuing in prayer and believing !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Janet Thompson says:

      Absolutely Caroline. That’s what God asks us to do…even when we can’t see Him at work, He’s always there. I found praying Scripture kept me praying His will.

  7. Laura Sikkenga says:

    Janet, I read your book about 4 years ago and re-read sections of it periodically. My 24-year old daughter, Sarah, is a prodigal as well. She left home 5 years ago to move in with a man and his two children, a man who is 17 years older than her and who divorced his wife for her. We have had communication ongoing until a couple of weeks ago. She wants nothing to do with God and puts up a defensive wall with me. She wants me to approve of her lifestyle but I cannot. It is difficult. I am very hurt. I have learned that all I can do is pray. Please pray for me and my family.

    • Janet Thompson says:

      Hi Laura, I’m so sorry to hear of the ongoing heartache with your daughter. Can I suggest you go to the 40 Days of Praying Scripture for Your Prodigal Daughter in the back of the book and pray those prayers for her EVERY day! You are right that praying to God and showing her unconditional love while not condoning her behavior is what God is calling you to do as parents who love her so much. Don’t give up…God hasn’t! 1 Thes 5:17.

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Trackbacks

  1. […] guess posted today about being a prodigal (HERE) and this just ties into it beautifully….almost like a “God […]

  2. […] month, Alycia Neighbours wrote a guest post, Never Stop Praying for Your Prodigal. In that article, Alycia shares her prodigal daughter testimony that touched many of my, and her, […]

  3. […] Previous blogs from prodigal Alycia Neighbours related how long her parents prayed for her return: Never Stop Praying for Your Prodigal! and After the Party for the Returning […]

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