A Mother’s Letter To A Prodigal Son


Writing a letter by Lior Filshteiner (LiorFil) on 500px.com
Writing a letter by Lior Filshteiner

My Dear Prodigal,

I remember a boy who was so eager to call me Mama, and who gave spontaneous hugs and kisses.  You loved to eat any and all of my food, and made me feel like the best cook in the world.  I remember your stubbornness, and hoped you would use it to change your world…but instead you’ve used it to change mine and so many others who love you.  And our hearts ache because we miss you.  The real you.  The one who is strong for the weak and makes everyone feel safe.

I can’t help but wonder if I am somehow to blame for the change of direction you have made as of late.  Was I too strict?  Was I not strict enough?  Did I show you the love and grace that is Jesus?  Or was I a hypocrite?

The questions that plague my mind torment, and then I know that I am not abiding in love.  Because there is no fear in love.

Then I start to figure out what I would do differently, if I had the chance.  Would I affirm you more and correct you less?  Would I discipline and guide you more gently?

I realize I am trying to rewrite the past, something that can never be done, no matter how hard I try.  And I remember that I am to forget those things which are behind…

Next, I start to worry about the now and where you are and what you are doing.  I stare at the glow of the digital alarm clock in my room and wonder who you are with at 1:30 a.m. and why you aren’t answering your phone or texts. But here the Comforter draws near and whispers that I am to be anxious for nothing.

You see, dear heart, you don’t belong to me, and you never have.  Your Mama and Father gave you back to God.  He has a plan for your future and He finishes what He has started.

And so, with this letter that I write to you that you may never see, I pray that you know one very important thing. I pray that you know that my arms are wide open and ready for your return…anytime you are ready…no matter what you’ve done.  We’ll face it together.

Because His arms are ready too, you know.  He awaits your return.  He will be dancing and spinning and celebrating with the best of them.  He misses you even more than I do.  He paid a great price to know you and every day that you’re away seems like an eternity.  So, make haste, my son.  We’re waiting, Daddy, Jesus and I.  We are fattening the calf and preparing the party.  We are standing in the yard, shielding eyes from the sun, hoping to catch a glimpse of you coming over the horizon. The day can not come soon enough.

Arms always open,


This post was inspired by readers who suggested that I step into the empty nest by writing each of my children a letter. Seeing that this letter is to my wayward son, I was also inspired by Ann’s wonderful post on the Prodigal Parent.

Do you have a Prodigal in your family? Let’s pray together…

Joining Laura at the new Faith Filled Friday community…

Beholding Glory

29 thoughts on “A Mother’s Letter To A Prodigal Son

  1. Ah yes. I remember tip-toeing into my daughters bedroom and praying. She was my rebel. Sometimes I prayed for her, sometimes for me to be patient with the pace of God’s work in her.

    Once she woke and asked me what I was doing. “Just praying.” She rolled her eyes and turned her back to me.

    She will be 36 this year and has five lovely children. She likes to tell her friends how much that simple act of prayer meant to her. (She is probably a better mother than I was; she’s always one step ahead of her kids.)

  2. I can relate to your letter to your son. I have a daughter who has drifted away then gotten married and settled down somewhat but we are not as close as we used to be. I pray every day for her but the pain never goes away. She is 36 now and I still wonder what I could have done differently to change things. And I don’t think I could have done anything differently. She is who she is. She is much like her father and not much like me. I think she is who she was meant to be. I’m glad we speak now and see each other and are civil to one another for my granddaughters’ sake. They are very different from her. She may have her own pain over them. I hope not. I pray for you and your son.

  3. This is just rawly beautiful and hurts the heart…so sorry for your pain…and we all look back with regret…wishing we would have done things differently…I know I do…I can’t go back and undo…I ask God to have mercy on my kids..to unchain them from the chains that I put on them…as I am being set free…I pray the same freedom for them. Oh your heart and unconditional love…it will draw him…your open arms and honest heart will bring healing at sometime…blessings to you…

    • I love your prayer that God would unchain your children from the chains you put on them. We do the best we can when raising kids. Thanking God He came to set them free from all chains and captivity!

      Karen Cox, Author
      365 Days of Prayers for Prodigals

  4. Your words are so beautiful, divinely inspired I suspect. I am married to a Prodigal son who deeply regrets the pain he put his parents through. But they were there waiting when he was ready to return. 🙂

  5. Your words are my heart towards our prodigal. I fight fear and PRAY, knowing that he is in the faithful, more than capable hands of God. Beauttiful post. Thank you!

    • Marianne, I hope you are seeing some changes in your Prodigal since you posted this! God is faithful and more than capable. Hold on to that! I have recently released an e-book on Amazon with 365 days of scripture based prayers you can pray while you wait. I have also set up a Facebook page of the same name in an effort to provide encouragement and a place that we can support each other.

      Karen Cox, Author
      365 Days of Prayers for Prodigals.

  6. I love this! Thank you for sharing these intimate words with the world. I, like many people, have people that I love that have walked away from our Lord. Your words have reminded me of those I hold dear. This letter brought tears to my eyes. Thank you!!!

  7. Thank you for sharing your pain. We, too, have a prodigal son…and struggle daily to stay in relationship, trust and surrender, yet not condone his choices. The balance between love and discipine remains a tricky one…even though our child is technically grown. I have recently publised an e-book on Amazon “365 Days of Prayers for Prodigals” and also have set up a Facebook page where I hope to offer encouragement and provide a forum for us to support each other while we wait.

  8. I have written that same letter in my mind 1000 times – although probably not as eloquently. I carry this pain with me for my son who has walked away from his faith. I give it to God everyday, and somehow manage to take it back all the time…. It’s the toughest part of being a parent…. Thank you for sharing your heart. I will pray for your son, and ask for your prayers for mine – his name is Jack.

  9. Pingback: What Every Mother Wants to Find in Her Teenaged Son’s Pocket « Journey Towards Epiphany

  10. Your heart always inspires me to seek to be more like you, more like Him, more like the me He has intended. May you taste the full sweetness of the fruit of your labor in due season…

  11. I so needed to read this. Thank you for sharing, my son will be 23 next week. when he was 20, he left me,his step dad and 3 little sisters to go live with his biological dad who never had part of my sons life growing up. He did not just turn away from us, he turned away from the LORD! he will not call , visit , nothing to do with us unless its a holiday and knows there is something for him.he never even came to visit me in hospital or asked if i was ok. ouch! we were so close, when he left me my heart just sank. my son is now saying he is athiest, living with his dad , no jobs, no college, just video gamers…. I hurts to see my son throw away his life. or just cut me off like that. his sisters who are under 12 hurt as well. see he lives 15 minutes from us.. he want no part of our holy brainwashed world. as he would put it. its been about 3 years now, no changes, like you said in your letter. I have to give him back to GOD. He is no longer mine. never was:(…and It will hurt till my last breath . please pray for him.

  12. This letter to your son is my heart over & over to the very end. Everything to the last detail is my life, my thoughts, my son & I could never put it into words as you have. He was called at the age of 14 to preach, never telling us but changing daily into this person that I had no clue who he was because of his running from the Lord. Finally at the age of 18 he admitted he had been called to preach & for about 8 weeks, he was our fun, loving, respectful, happy child again…The weight of the world had been lifted from his shoulders,his eyes sparkled again, he preached a couple of sermons and did an amazing job, (I’m not just saying that because I’m his mom either), he preached with a boldness that could have only been given to him by the Lord. Little by little I could see him slipping & returning to the runner. He then told me that he WAS NOT going to preach, once again my life is on a roller coaster ride of, fear, peace, sadness, joy! Then the cycle repeats itself as I daily study, pray, give it to the Lord & take it back again. The Lord reminds me that it is HIS battle with my son, not mine.

    Thank you for your letter, your heart & your faith!

  13. It’s hard to see why when a child strays. I know, I did it. The beauty of the prodigal is when he does decide to go home the father runs to him, welcoming him back and throwing a party. The sadness for me is if and when any of us forget we are the prodigal, totally dependent on the love of our Father. The brother did everything right in his own eyes, but missed out on the blessing that was there for the taking. May the stray remember this, and may the rest be reminded we too are the prodigal!

  14. Oh how I can relate! I want to tell you about my beautiful son. He was so caring, loving, talented and extremely smart. He could listen to any kind of music and play it back so beautifully on the piano, guitar, or drums. He was tall for his age and would take up for smaller kids at his school that were being bullied. Oh how I love him and miss him!
    He is now 29 years old and it has been 13 years since he has talked to me or acknowledged me at all. He refuses to call me Mom. He will not accept any gifts, cards, calls, or messages from me.
    When he was 16 years old I divorced his father. I refused to tell him any details of the divorce except that both his father and I loved him but we just could not make our marriage work anymore. His father on the other hand told him many stories as to why we were divorcing. I have beat myself up over the years replaying our lives in my mind on how I could have prevented this. Where did I go wrong? Should I have prayed over him more? Should I have paid more attention to him, should I have been more lenient on the house rules and curfews? Did I give him too much? One thing that I was going to stand firm on was that he was a part of me and a part of his father. We both loved him and I was NEVER going down the path of speaking ugly words about his father to him. My heart has been so broken at times that I don’t know if I can go on another day. The grief can come when least expected. I don’t know quite what triggers it but it is still extremely difficult to this day. I think it is not only his absence that hurts so deeply but his refusal to be a part of my life. My prayer used to be that GOD would bring my son back to me. Today my prayer for him has changed. I pray earnestly for my son’s salvation and that he will find GOD. I may never have any kind of relationship with him which breaks my heart but knowing that he does not have a relationship with GOD is way more difficult for me to bear. I covet prayers for him to find salvation and that sweet peace that we can only find with GOD. I can live with my son’s absence as long as I know my son knows our Heavenly Father.

    • Dear Kelly,

      Forgive me for taking so long to answer…this was quite an old post and I didn’t know that it was getting new traffic.

      You are doing the right thing…placing your boy in His hands…I am confident that there is joy in your future, because that is just the way God is!

      I pray for you now that God restores your life and gives you beauty for ashes…

      Standing with you.

  15. We know when we are growing closer to GOD when we can understand our children are only on loan to us, we don’t own them….GOD does. Your letter is very inspiring! ❤

  16. My baby boy came into the world so sweet and undemanding. He grew knowing the love of the Lord and with a special healing for his heart murmur. He grew never being any trouble and with a sincere and loving heart. Only some normal complaints of eating certain vegetables and doing certain choirs. No trouble only admiration for the young man he had grown into going to church and taking leadership rolls in school. College soon had him and he became distant…only to find out later he thinks he is gay. My heart crushed and broken, I tried to explain the word of God and help him understand. He grew more distant as he finished college and moved away. I am lucky now if I speak with him twice a month. Phone calls are very few and never comes home unless there is a holiday. I miss my son so badly. I pray diligently each day that his eyes will be open. My heart feels as if there has been a death but the pain doesn’t stop – it continues on and on. Please prayer warriors, pray for my son. That his heart will be healed along with his body. The world’s agenda says it is ok but the word of God tells me it is clearly sin. I am trusting His promise to restore him and bring him home. Thank you so much.

    • Once again, I apologize for being so late in responding…this is an old post and I didn’t realize it was receiving so much traffic.

      Love covers…it heals…it leads…God will give you wisdom. I am confident in this. Praying that this wisdom falls from heaven even as I type…

  17. I just came across your letter on FB. I can relate so well. Our son is 39 years old and in the county jail as I write this. He has been addicted to drugs since the age of 14. He has served 15 of his 39 years in prison or jail. He got married in 2012, but did not give up the drugs. They are now separated and she is seeking a divorce. He seems to want what his father and I have ( a happy marriage for 56 years), but doesn’t have a clue on how to get it. This time in jail he has gone through another drug program ( he has been through quite a few in the past). It lasted for 16 weeks, and his counselor praised him for his involvement and even let him lead the class on several occasions. There are 38 more weeks to this drug program, but it requires him to be on the outside to take it. He will be released sometime around the first of 2016. His dad and I are strong Christians and raised him in this environment. He turned his back on God at an early age, but has since at least admitted his belief in Him. He went so far as to be baptized into Christ during his marriage, but the very next night went back to the drugs. We have turned him over to God a long time ago, and our belief is that God has spared his life this long for a reason. We covet your prayers on his behalf. His name is David. Thank you for your letter. It touched my heart in a way that caused me to realize that we are not alone in this struggle.

    • You are not alone…I am praying as I type and standing in agreement that the Word of God sown into your son’s life will not return void…that he will fulfill the purpose He has for him. Never forget, sweet sister, that you have a compassionate Father who understands more than anyone what it feels like to have wayward children. I pray that He comforts you and your husband’s heart in the time in between…
      Never give up hope!

  18. Pingback: Letter to a Prodigal | teracomp

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