Life is hard for a prodigal. Their lives are filled with fear, failure and frustration. Yes, much of it is of their own making.

Those who love a prodigal are also filled with fear, failure and frustration. In their efforts to rescue and restore those loved wanderers, they practice tough love, they set strict boundaries, and they sometimes speak discouraging words.

Often, they are joined by others who communicate with harsh and hurtful words that multiply the sense of fear, failure and frustration: teachers, coaches, friends, family, employers, police officers, judges, probation officers. These words are usually purposeful, but too often come straight from the enemy hurling curses, seeking to destroy.

I lived with a prodigal for almost 20 years and have walked with many others on a similar journey. I know these wayward ones need boundaries and consequences and firm words to help them come to their senses, redirect their lives, even to keep them from destroying themselves.

But I also know they need—and more readily respond to—words of love, acceptance, encouragement and hope. I have found that my words and prayers of blessing—straight from God’s Word—can many times lead to turning, to change, even to transformation.

So join me as we recognize the messages our loved ones often receive—words that discourage, affirm their failures, and enshroud them in curses. Then absorb the words our God speaks, whispers and shouts to them. Let’s turn curses into blessings.

“You can’t do anything right.”

May you be built up, not torn down; planted, not uprooted.  May you return to God with all your heart (Jer. 24:6-7).

“You have failed again.”

May you rise when you fall and come out of the darkness into God’s light (Micah 7:8-9).

“You will never amount to anything.”

May you hope in the future of God’s good plans for you (Eph. 2:10),

God will punish you for what you have done.”

May you comprehend that it gives God joy to always do good to you (Jer. 32:40).

“You are hopeless.”

May you receive the new heart and new spirit God is giving you. (Ezekiel 36:26-27)

“You are such a loser.”

May all the days and years of your life stolen by the evil one be restored (Joel 2:25).

“You make it hard for anyone to love you.”

May you feel cords of loving-kindness as the Father bends down to feed you (Hos. 11:4).

“You are going to spend your life in prison.”

May you know that in Christ Jesus there is no condemnation (Rom. 8:1).

“When you are here, our home is a war zone.”

May you hear the love song God is singing to you (Zeph. 3:17).

“Even God couldn’t love you … ”

May you be convinced that nothing can separate you from the love of God (Rom. 8:38-39).

Our Lord invites us: “ … bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:28).

Paul admonishes us: “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse” (Rom. 12:14).

Will you join me in praying blessings over the prodigal you love?

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