Leaders’ children, in particular, seem to be under heavy attack. And those young people who have the highest callings on their lives are the ones the enemy is targeting with greatest ferocity.
Time and time again I’ve prayed with Christians who have said through tears, “Johnny (or Susie) had a heart after God when he was young. So many prophetic words were spoken over him about his destiny in Christ! But now, it’s as if he’s rejecting everything he ever believed in.”
If your own heart is breaking because your child has turned his back on the Lord, I have good news for you: The situation is temporary. There will be a day when he returns from the land of the enemy. Fear not!
How can I say that with such assurance? Because my husband, Mike, and I had a prodigal too.
I’m just like you. I love my kids, Mary and Daniel. I have tried very hard to be a good mother. I’ve spent hours and hours with them as they’ve grown up, praying for them and teaching them the Word. I’ve tried my best to live a godly example before them, even though I have not always succeeded.
Still, for a time, Mary turned away from the Lord. What happened? For one thing, the kids suffered from having a mother who was a minister when women in ministry were really unpopular.
The unkind things people said about me hurt my daughter especially. Her Christian kindergarten teacher told her I was a witch because I was praying for the sick; her first-grade teacher told her I didn’t love her because I was traveling. The pain from such comments mounted until, as a teen-ager, Mary could no longer stand the church. She thought all Christians were hypocrites.
It was a long, up-and-down battle. At times Mary would look as if she were coming to her senses, only to surprise us a few days later with a comment such as, “Mom, I’ve been reading a book about aliens, and I think that maybe Jesus was a alien.” She would usually say something outrageous like that just as I was going out the door to preach. I’d cry all the way to the airport and struggle with deep feelings of shame.
“Who do you think you are to preach the gospel? You can’t even deal with your own daughter!” the enemy would whisper. “You are a failure, Cindy Jacobs—a big failure!”
It’s a good thing that when we are weak, God is strong. At those times I had to minister out of sheer obedience because inside I was crushed. Yet somehow God always worked through my grief and pain, and great breakthroughs would take place at those meetings.
Having a Battle Plan
In the heat of our battle over Mary, I discovered how important it is to have a strategy—a solid battle plan that helps you go into war fully equipped. The enemy of our souls wants to discourage us from believing our prodigals will ever turn around. He wants to use our own precious children to send fiery darts designed to erode our faith. But with a plan steadfastly in place, we can stand firm no matter what our kids do or say.
Having a plan does not eliminate the inevitable pain that comes when your son sneers, “I don’t believe in your God!” or your daughter cries, “I don’t want to have anything to do with those hypocrites in church!” It hurts—terribly. But if we are firm in our resolve that no matter what happens we are going to stand and keep standing in the gap for them, we may plummet temporarily—but then we will get back up on our feet and start praying again.