Something Parents in Pain Hate to Do

by | Jan 13, 2014 | what you can do | 6 comments

Something I hate to do is wait, especially when I’m waiting for something I want to have happen. I can wait for a long time with no problem at all  for something I’mfrozen dreading:  A doctor’s appointment; results of a medical test; getting my teeth cleaned; a meeting to resolve some conflict or inter-personal problem – anything unpleasant. I don’t really want these things to happen. They can take a long time to occur as far as I’m concerned. That’s just fine with me.

But waiting for something I want to have happen,well, that’s quite different. I don’t like to wait for those things. You’re probably a lot like me.

This kind of waiting feels like a barren, frozen wasteland. And waiting for  my child to change when they’re making life-threatening choices involving drugs or alcohol, suffering from self injury, an eating disorder or mental illness, make repeated suicide attempts, in bondage to pornography, or are attracted to the same sex, is pure agony.

During a time in my life when I was having a particularly difficult time waiting for changes in my daughter’s life, I came across a book I found to be quite helpful. It had a huge impact on me when all I could do was cry out to God saying, “Help!”

I decided to share part of it with you in today’s post. The authors are two moms who have been there and understand what we go through every day. I hope their writing will encourage you as it did me.

“Of all the strategies we could suggest, waiting is perhaps the hardest. Somehow we feel better about dealing with our prodigals if we can take action – it gives us the false illusion that we are in control of things. The truth is, we’re not in control.  We have to hand over the situation to God, remain prayerful and take action only as He directs us…….

For the believer, waiting for the prodigal’s return need not be a passive, “in limbo” state.  The Hebrew word for “wait” comes from a root word meaning “to bind together” and figuratively means “to expect”.  We don’t wait in fear and despair.  If our hope is in God, we wait expectantly for Him to intervene.  And in the process, we ourselves are drawn closer to Him with bonds of love.

Father, please give me Your wisdom to know how to pray for my prodigal. I lift his (her) specific needs to You now:  (name the needs).  Lord, I confess that I’ve felt hurt and angry at _________because of (mention the specifics).  I forgive my prodigal for hurting me and disappointing me; please help me to love him (her) with Your love and to walk in continual forgiveness.  Thank you for forgiving me and enabling me to forgive those who wrong me.

Lord, I’m grateful for the power of Your Word to give comfort and guidance. Please show me appropriate Scriptures to pray for my prodigal. I release __________ into Your hands and ask You to work in his (her) life according to Your plan and purpose. I commit this person into Your care and trust You to draw him (her) to Yourself by the power of the Holy Spirit. Thank You in Jesus’ name for doing a work of grace in _________’s life.  Amen.”

Praying Prodigals Home ,Quin Sherrer and Ruthanne Garlock, pages 58-60.


  1. Erika Rizkallah (@ErikaUnstuck)

    Thanks for this post Dena. Yes, the waiting is terrible and hope is something I strive for and yet almost don’t want to think about lest I “jinx” it in any way. As if I had the power to do anything! At any rate, it’s nice to know I’m not alone:)

    • denayohe

      Erika, you surely aren’t alone! What comfort this brings me.

  2. michelebartlett

    Often people cite “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecc. 4:12) in the context of marriage, but I believe it applies here, too — the strands being me, the Lord, and my prodigal. As I wait, I bind my prodigal to my Lord with my love and prayers. This also reminds me of the woman who grasped the hem of Jesus’ garment. She most likely would have been grasping the tassels on his prayer shawl, and if they were anything like they are now, they may have been made of cords bound together, braided or tied together.
    I love the image of being tied closely to my Savior. The word “wait” that we speak of here, in the OT is often translated “hope.”
    May we all see the desire of our hearts speedily!

    • denayohe

      Thank you for sharing these insights, Michele. They are sooo good. I like the image of being closely tied to our Savior while we pray and wait with hope.

  3. Kristi Bauer Wirtz

    I’m scared. My daughter is a “new” alcoholic. as in, she has not been drinking that long. She went to a rehab facility and seemed ok. but she just had a relapse. I don’t want her life to be like this and neither does she. She wants to go back to the rehab,,but she would probably loose her job. I so want to trust that God will handle this. But I’m afraid that I should also be doing something,,and I just don’t know what. Thank you all for being on this site.

    • Tom and Dena Yohe

      I’m so sorry, Kristi. This is frightening and so hard, for both of you. If she is motivated to get more help, then is a really good sign. It can take several trips to rehab before the addict finally “gets it”. Can she go back at a reduced rate? It’s more important than keeping her job – it may mean saving her life. I’d like to recommend a few things to you: Do you attend Al-Anon or Celebrate Recovery meetings? If not, I encourage you to start right away. Google it on the internet to find a group in your area.
      Also, a few books that might help you are: Hope and Help by Jeff VanVonderen, Everything Changes: Help for Families of Newly Recovering Addicts by Beverly Conyers and Courage to Change (Al-Anon literature).

      If you would like regular encouragement please sign up for my daily emails through our website: Go to the “More” tab, then click on “contact us” in the drop down menu. Fill out the contact info and type “join” in the comment box.

      Father, show Kristi what she should do and not do. This is so hard and she needs your wisdom. Put others in her life to guide her. Thank you for caring. Amen.