Prayers for Prodigals

By B.J. Reinhard

There Scripture-based prayers are designed to be prayed for any loved one (a son, daughter, grandchild, the child of a friend, or even a spouse or parent) who has strayed from God into a destructive lifestyle. For this sake of clarity, the prayers are written with a son in mind. Please adapt them to fit your situation.


  • 1.) Lord, protect my son. Build a hedge around him to guard him physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Block his paths so that he cannot move toward activities and relationships that would harm him. 
    • Job 1:10   Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
    • Hosea 2:6-7   Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths. And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now.
  • 2.) Deliver him from evil. Rescue him from a destructive lifestyle. Restore him to his senses, and bring him home from the land of the enemy
    • Matthew 6:13   And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
    • Psalm 91:14   Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
    • Luke 15:17   And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
    • Jeremiah 31:16-17   Thus saith the Lord; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border.
  • 3.) Guide my son into truth. Teach him to recognize deceptive ideas and thoughts. Make him alert to the lies of the enemy, and teach him how to resist the devil by faith
    • John 16:13   Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
    • 1 Corinthians 2:16   For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.
    • 1 Peter 5:8-9   Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
  • 4.) Give my son the courage to be honest with himself and with You. Spirit of God, convict him of sin and his need for You. Don't allow my son to blame others for troubles in his life. Show him that he alone is responsible for his choices.
    • John 16:8    And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
    • Genesis 3:12-13    And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
    • Ezekiel 18:20    The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
  • 5.) Lord, thank You for drawing my son with love and tenderness to Yourself, even in his desert place. Show him that You are with him. You delight in him. Amid the clamor for his attention and affections, may he hear Your voice calling him and respond to Your deep, deep love.
    • Jeremiah 31:3   The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.
    • Hosea 2:14    Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.
    • Zephaniah 3:17    The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.
  • 6.) Cause my son to call out to You in his distress and confusion. Cause him to seek You with abandon. Thank You for promising to answer him.
    • Psalm 91:15    He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
    • Jeremiah 29:13    And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
  • 7.) Remove my son's heart of stone and replace it with a new, soft heart. Make this heart into a bed of fertile soil so that the seed of truth sown into it will grow deep roots and bring forth a rich crop of life.
    • Ezekiel 36:26-27    A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
    • Matthew 13:23    But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
    • Colossians 2:6-7    As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
      7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
  • 8.) Lord Jesus, reveal to my son that lasting refreshment and satisfaction can only be found in You. In You he will find an abundant life.
    • John 4:10, 10:10    Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
    • Psalm 1:3.   And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
  • 9.) Lead my son to friends who will graciously point him to You. Cause him to be attracted to those who are attracted to You. Scatter like chaff in the wind any friends who will bring him harm. Give him courage to please You, not man.
    • Proverbs 13:20   He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
    • Galatians 1:10   For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
  • 10.) Produce in my son a humble spirit that is yielded to You. Teach him how to live in You, and show him that apart from You he can do nothing.
    • James 4:10    Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
    • Romans 6:13   Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
    • John 15:5    I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
  • 11.) Lord, reveal to my son how valuable and significant his life is. Give him a vision for his purpose in the world, and show him the possibilities for his future. Through You, he can do all things. 
    • Isaiah 43:7    Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.
    • Jeremiah 29:11    For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
    • Philippians 4:13    I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
  • 12.) Help my son to see that he doesn’t need to condemn himself. Show him that he can experience complete forgiveness through the work You've already finished on his behalf. Give him the grace to repent of and let go of the past.
    • John 19:30    When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
    • Acts 3:19    Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.
    • Isaiah 43:18-19    Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
  • 13.) Thank You for offering hope and comfort to my son. Thank You for restoring the years the locusts have eaten and bestowing on my son a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the
    oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair.
    • Isaiah 57:18    I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners.
    • Joel 2:25    And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.
    • Isaiah 61:3    To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.
  • 14.) Teach my son that following You is not about following rules. Show him that what You long for is a genuine relationship with him.
    • Romans 6:14    For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
    • Jeremiah 9:24    But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.
    • Philippians 3:8,10   Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
  • 15.) Lord, cause my son to grow up in You, maturing into an oak of righteousness for the display of Your splendor. Help him to grow in wisdom and stature, and in favor with You and with man.
    • Ephesians 4:15    But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
    • Isaiah 61:3    To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.
    • Luke 2:52    And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
  • 16.) Teach my son to live in freedom, animated and motivated by Your Spirit and in step with Him.
    • Galatians 5:16,25    This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
  • 17.) Teach my son to walk by faith. Help him to see beyond his circumstances and trust You with every part of his life.
    • 2 Corinthians 5:7    For we walk by faith, not by sight.
    • Hebrews 11:1    Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
    • Proverbs 3:5-6    Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
  • 18.) Impress on my son the need to protect his mind, guarding its purity through the choices he makes about what he looks at, listens to, and thinks about.
    • Philippians 4:8    Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
    • 2 Corinthians 10:5    Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
  • 19.) Lord, in this fast-paced world of instant gratification, plant in my son the perseverance he needs to succeed. Cause him to be still and wait patiently before You. Help him to
    rest in Your power. Establish the work of his hands.
    • Psalm 37:7    Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
    • Hebrews 12:1-3     Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
    • Psalm 90:17   And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.
  • 20.) Turn my son’s focus away from himself and onto You. May he allow Your power to flow through him to others. Teach him to love others as himself.
    • Philippians 2:4    Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
    • 2 Corinthians 4:7    But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
    • Matthew 22:39    And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
  • 21.) Cause my son to love You with all his heart, soul, and mind. May he live all his days in love with and rejoicing in You.
    • Matthew 22:37    Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
    • Psalm 27:4    One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.
    • Philippians 4:4    Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.

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