Waiting for a Prodigal's Return

Waiting for a Prodigal's Return

How can we graciously wait for someone to return who has walked away from the faith?


Nothing is more painful than watching someone we love leave the faith. Our emotions run the gamut from being angry to being ashamed. In this study, based on an article by Karen Swallow Prior, we look closely at the story of the Prodigal Son and, with Scripture's help, discuss how we can respond when someone's choices cause us pain.

Table of Contents

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 65; Luke 15:11–32; Romans 9; Philippians 4:1–9


• Identify the Current Issue

• Discover the Eternal Principles

Teaching point one: Almost every Christian agonizes over a prodigal.

Teaching point two: We must be patient for God to work in a prodigal's life.

Teaching point three: We must realize that more prayer, greater conservatism, or sharper apologetics will not necessarily bring our prodigal back.

Teaching point four: We must let go of any shame we feel, ask forgiveness for anything we have done wrong, and be willing to be authentic with others.

Teaching point five: We must not despair if our prodigal does not return.

• Apply Your Findings

• Additional Resources


Prodigal Love, by Karen Swallow Prior (September 2013)


free newsletters

Sign up today for our weekly newsletter: Small Groups Newsletter. Inspire life-changing community with our free weekly newsletter and receive regular access to innovative training resources, Bible-based curriculum, and practical articles.


Family Traditions
Take a look back at your childhood.
Parenting Bible Study Bundle
Parenting Bible Study Bundle
Discover how you can raise balanced, Godly children in a chaotic world.
Is My Child Welcome Here?
Is My Child Welcome Here?
Four ways to reach parents of children with special needs
Adoption and the Local Church
Adoption and the Local Church
How should individual churches help families who adopt?
When a Daughter Dies
When a Daughter Dies
Walking the way of grace in the midst of our grief