Hope When Your Children Stray

Nick Batzig | July 19, 2017

Of all the painful experiences I’ve faced in nearly a decade of ministry—the death of a mother, couples enduring miscarriage, strife, abuse, divorce, scandal—walking with godly parents through a child’s rebellion may be the most difficult. Perhaps it weighs heavy on my heart because I was a rebellious child raised in a Christian home. But though nurtured in a spiritually and theologically solid environment, I ran from it—to spiritual darkness and sin—as fast as I could.

Not long after my conversion, people often asked me to reach out to their own children who were living prodigal lifestyles. I started to realize a few things as I brought the gospel to young adults strung out on pharmaceuticals, cocaine, acid, crack, meth, and MDMA. First, I realized how true my Calvinistic beliefs really were (unless the Lord—in sovereign mercy—redeems, all is hopeless); and, second, I realized most parents were at a loss to know how to pursue their rebellious child.

Today when I’m counseling the parents of a rebellious child, here are five things I tell them: 

1. Pray explicitly for your children’s salvation.

Incessantly ask the Lord to extend redeeming grace to your children. While their rescue ultimately depends on his sovereign mercy, the prayers of godly parents often play an vital role. Such was the case with Augustine of Hippo, who…

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