Many young people in this generation would rather watch a show or consume media than sit and read Scripture; it may not seem relevant to their life today.

In the words of Carol Barnier,

“Your prodigal is still reading the Bible… reading its presence in your life.”

She talks about the pain that comes when a son or daughter leaves the faith  – and how a parent can prayerfully engage them in a way that honors them and God.

Here are some of the questions Carol herself wrestled with as a child raised in a Christian home who later converted to atheism:

How can the Bible be its own proof?

Why is suffering so prevalent?

Carol’s father gladly addressed her questions, but her mother had a difficult time with Carol’s doubts and frequently involved her in arguments. Carol eventually came back to faith after becoming a mother and now shares her journey with others.

So what is a prodigal? Carol offers her perspective. “[It’s] someone who has lost faith or is rebelling against faith. These are not the same as people who drift off (nomads).” A prodigal has a rebellious spirit. How can we engage with a rebellious spirit? Carol offers a few tips.

1. Advise, don’t badger.

2. Focus on boundaries, not behavior.

3. Keep the relationship open by sharing common interests.

4. Don’t start a sentence with “The Bible says…”

5. Do sit down and listen. Carol uses the acronym LITE.

Listen – really listen.

Interpret what they’ve said.

Tag it (with an emotion).


Carol urges parents to show love – live the Scriptures instead of constantly quote them to your prodigal.

“If you find yourself saying the same thing over and over, you’re no longer instructing but badgering. And no one likes to be badgered.”

Highlight : Don’t badger

Loving your prodigal child

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