Many of us experience the heartbreak of a loved one walking away from God. We get a fresh perspective on coming home from former prodigal Andrew Palau and his mother Pat as they talk about how God uses a praying parent.

Pat says staying connected to God kept her grounded and steady as she watched Andrew run from church and pursue drugs and women instead of Christ.

“The key to all of this lies in the area of prayer. There’s a great mystery there too, because you feel like you keep bringing the same things to God over and over. The only thing that would touch him is that we would pray for him. I cannot invade his heart and his life and bring about change; only the Holy Spirit could do that. All parents have to look for those moments in which the Holy Spirit is speaking through the individual, and they’re not parroting, but speaking deep personal truth.”

Andrew felt his own sense of “waywardness.” Even so, he respected his parents for their faith and loving boundaries. “I could see in Mom and Dad that they were never claiming to be perfect, but they were growing.”

Pat shares how Andrew’s rebellion affected her relationship with her husband Luis. They decided early on to make two important decisions. First, they would not be mad at Andrew for his choices; as Pat says, “Non-Christians do what non-Christians do.” Second, they would maintain a close relationship with Andrew as much as possible, so he would have a safe place to return to when God finally did change his heart. Years later, at a crusade, God stirred Andrew’s heart and started him down a “radical” path of grace, forgiveness, and surrender.

Pat says we can set an example for our children, and share our faith with them, but ultimately it’s a personal decision on their part. “Someday we’ll all stand before God as individuals.”

You can read Andrew’s full story in his book, The Secret Life of a Fool.

Key Scriptures: Philippians 4:6-7; Mark 16:19

Theme Song: Everlasting God by Chris Tomlin

Highlight : Fighting the formula

Prodigals and praying parents