The Prayers and Tears of St. Augustine’s Mother

One of my daughters was reading Confessions by St. Augustine about the time I was grieving in tears every day for my prodigal son. I found this story about his mother very consoling because St. Augustine was a prodigal himself who came to be a saint. I’m just going to quote some helpful passages out of the book:

“But you ‘sent down your help from above’ Psalms 144:7, and rescued my soul from the depths of this darkness because my mother, your faithful servant, wept to you for me, shedding more tears for my spiritual death than other mothers shed for the bodily death of a son. For in her faith and in the spirit which she had from you she looked on me as dead. You heard her and did not despise the tears which streamed down and watered the earth in every place where she bowed her head in prayer.” (Page 68)

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31 Days ~ About Shame

Day 24 ~ Shame Off Her
This is an interesting title for today. Being a little slow when it comes to understanding things, like jokes and puns, etc. I had to think twice (three times actually), before I realized that James was turning the term, “Shame on her”, around almost as a command to take the “Shame off her”.

Truthfully, I have never really prayed that before. I have prayed for a hedge of protection for our prodigals, that God would keep them from evil, etc., but today I will pray in a different way.

As the scripture says, “Anyone who believes in Him will never be put to shame.” Romans 10:11

Quoting James Banks

“I pray you will move soon in her life to turn her heart from the sin back to you.

Let her hear your Spirit speaking to her, “I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.” (Isaiah 44:22)

Let the fog clear and a bright new morning break!

Even when we rebel against you, you long for us to give our hearts to you.

When we do, you take our sins completely away.

You clothe us with “garments of salvation” and “a robe of righteousness.” (Isaiah 61:10)

You present us holy in your sight, “without blemish and free from accusation” (Colossians 1:22).

You have said, “You will forget the shame of your youth” (Isaiah 54:4).

You tell us you will remember our sins no more (Jeremiah 31:34).

Take the shame of my daughter, Lord Jesus! Just as you have for me.”

I know she has a choice to make and I pray she will make it soon and “choose life” (Deuteronomy 30:19)

I pray she will choose you!” ~ James Banks

We as parents may also be feeling shame, but why then would the promise be that we would not be ashamed. I think we need to rethink this and realize that our children are God’s and we are given a time with them to nurture and bring them up, but then God has to deal with their hearts in His way. Anything that is not right in their hearts, He will make right in His time and in His way. That is why it is so important to “Let go and let God do the work”. We need to trust Him, and not be ashamed, but magnify the fact that we have a Great Shepherd who cares about each lost sheep and seeks to find them and bring them home. Praise Him for He is Mighty to save!

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

31 Days ~ Wanting What God Wants

Day 9 ~ Wanting What God Wants

“Some of my son’s choices have affected his future, Father.

The missed opportunities, denied admissions, and closed doors would not have been so if he had applied the gifts that you’ve given him.

But that doesn’t mean he’s missed the greatest opportunity of his life.

You are that opportunity, Lord! And You can make new opportunities for Him.

More than wanting him to seek Your hand and what You can do for him, I want him to seek Your heart.”

Ask most parents what they want for their child and you’ll find they want good things, a successful career, a happy home, good health, a life with fewer challenges than they had.

But what does God want?

… Our prayer needs to be, “Father, help me to want what you want for my child. Help him to love you most of all!”

When that prayer is answered then your son or daughter will be truly happy and have all that he or she needs. Not just for a few years on this earth but for every day to come, stretching on beyond forever, because “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” I Corinthians 2:9

~ James Banks Prayers for Prodigals

I did a review of a book by a fellow traveler Dan Mayhew called The Butterfly and the Stone… Dan’s son is addicted to alcohol…he was in the military and has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder…

Here is a quote from his book…

“I see less of the man I dreamed he would become and more of the one he seems determined to be. He seems to have set out with deliberateness to be everything I have always hated about disfigured manhood.

Drinking. Smoking. Partying. Gambling. Foul-mouthed. Unkind. Selfish. Abusive. Mocking. Smelling of smoke and alcohol. At home in rancid taverns and among reprobates and miscreants.

I detest it. All of it. That I should be the father of such a one is hardly bearable. I wish I could forget him. Reclaim my life and put this interminable season of reckless debauchery behind me. To forget the lies; the times when my affection only made me feel foolish when it was repaid only with more of the same; to sleep through the night without fear and dread; to turn away on last time and be free of love.

When the Creator of this world looks upon it sinking into depravity – when He sees the hatred and the filth; malice and the cruelty; the selfishness and the violence, when He sees all that He hates, will He turn away?

No. Because the love of the Father in heaven exceeds my feeble love. He has already turned His face away from all that, when He turned away from Christ on the cross. It had to be the cross. Anything less brutal could never stand amidst the refuse of human depravity and declare forgiven. Atonement for the sins of the world – all that the Creator detests in His children – had to be the cross.

And that is what makes Him Father. Grace beyond limits. Forgiveness without end. Hope beyond endurance. Life to overcome death. This is grace. It is the love that never fails and will prevail in spite of all that is detestable among His children.”

Dan began a community of home-based churches called The Summit Fellowships where he serves as a church planter, teacher and encourager.

Please add Dan and his son to your prayer list. His book is really incredible…to see the review go here

The Sights and Sounds of Enabling ~ Diane Viere and Elaine Altman-Eller

“When a child is an addict—we don’t have to stop loving them; we simply must love them differently. It is a higher calling. To withhold what comes naturally, to surrender our child’s future to their Creator, to let go of our paternal instincts and have faith in our God who shares in our love for our children is sacrificial love. I sacrifice my human nature—that I have the answers—that I have control over my child’s decisions—that I must intervene. Conversely, it is when I intercede for my son that I practice real love—love on its knees.” ~ Diane Viere

I am so excited about this ebooklet. I have seen Diane reaching out to so many people in so many ways with such a compassionate heart, because she knows the pain, she knows the prodigal journey and she knows the hope we have in Christ, and the miracles that enfold as we surrender and allow God to work in our lives and the lives of our prodigals.

I have not personally dealt with addictions, but from what I have read in this booklet Diane and Elaine are offering a life changing way to deal with anyone having this problem. They take you step by step and show you if you are enabling your child and how to free yourself of the destructive behavior of enabling. If you are dealing with this kind of trial in your life, I recommend that you read this booklet. You will probably relate in some way with the examples that are given. Knowing how to free yourself and let go of your child or the person in your life who is an addict may be the very thing that leads them to recovery.

Thank you, Diane and Elaine for helping hurting parents of prodigals!

Here is the link to purchase and download the ebooklet …

Summary ~ In this first ebooklet of the Putting the Spotlight On series, written by Diane Viere, Founder of Partners In Prayer For Our Prodigals, Host of The Prodigal Hope Network and Christian Counselor and Elaine Altman-Eller, Family Recovery Specialist you will discover the critical difference between helping and enabling, the traps of enabling, and the cycle of destruction that occurs until we stop enabling the addicts we love.Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? Have you tried everything you can think of…to no avail? Are you exhausted? Do you feel helpless and hopeless; trapped by the knowledge that what you have been doing is not working? Have you sacrificed your own well being with the sole desire of saving your addict? Why isn’t it working?

The Sights and Sounds of Enabling puts the spotlight on the ineffectiveness and collateral damage caused by enabling. Discover why enabling never works and how you can stop enabling today. Step out of the darkness of your hopelessness today; step into your strength—learn how to love your addict effectively and become a guiding light for their recovery.

The Prayers and Tears of St. Augustine’s Mother

One of my daughters was reading Confessions by St. Augustine about the time I was grieving in tears every day for my prodigal son. I found this story about his mother very consoling because St. Augustine was a prodigal himself who came to be a saint. I’m just going to quote some helpful passages out of the book:

“But you ‘sent down your help from above’ Psalms 144:7, and rescued my soul from the depths of this darkness because my mother, your faithful servant, wept to you for me, shedding more tears for my spiritual death than other mothers shed for the bodily death of a son. For in her faith and in the spirit which she had from you she looked on me as dead. You heard her and did not despise the tears which streamed down and watered the earth in every place where she bowed her head in prayer.” (Page 68)

Beautiful photo by Janjan Perez

After this St. Augustine tells a story about a dream that his mother had that consoled her, and that it was still nine years that he “wallowed deep in the mire and the darkness of delusion.” He writes, “Often I tried to lift myself, only to plunge the deeper. Yet all the time this chaste, devout, prudent women, a widow such as is close to your heart, never ceased to pray at all hours and to offer You the tears she shed for me.”

“‘Her prayers reached Your presence’ Psalms 88:2 and yet you still left me to twist and turn in the dark.”

“ I remember that in the meantime you gave her another answer to her prayers,… “

“This other answer that you gave her through the mouth of one of your priests, a bishop who had lived his life in the Church and was well versed in the Scriptures. My mother asked him, as a favor, to have a talk with me, so that he might refute my errors, drive the evil out of my mind and replace it with good. He often did this when he found suitable pupils, but he refused to do it for me- a wise decision, as I afterwards realized. He told her that I was still unripe for instruction because, as she had told him I was brimming over with the novelty of the heresy and had already upset a great many simple people with my casuistry. ‘Leave him alone’, he said. ‘Just pray to God for him. From his own reading he will discover his mistakes and the depth of his profanity.’ (Page 69)

“Even after my mother heard this my mother still would not be pacified, but persisted all the more with her tears and her entreaties that he should see me and discuss the matter. At last he grew impatient and said ‘Leave me and go in peace. It cannot be that the son of these tears should be lost.’”

“In later years, as we talked together, she used to say that she accepted these words as a message from heaven.”(Page 70)

I hope this will encourage you as it did me that our tears are not in vain. Remember to travail in prayer for our prodigals and offer our tears to our heavenly Father knowing and trusting that He is hearing our pleas and working His perfect way in the hearts of our sons and daughters. You can read more of St. Augustine’s life, if you like, in his book Confessions of St. Augustine.

The Prayer Every Mother Must Pray

— An Excerpt From the Inspiring Women series By Rebekah Montgomery

One night, when the situation with my son looked hopeless, I dreamed I was carrying him through a dark, foggy night over steep, rocky terrain. He was heavy and the way was difficult but I would not set him down. I carried him uphill until I could go no farther. I looked up and before me was the cross and Jesus hanging upon it, His blood dripping down. In wonder and awe, I touched His blood and immediately, I felt stronger, hopeful, empowered, wiser.

And I knew what to do: I prayed the prayer every mother must pray for her child whether that child is prodigal or not: “By the power of the blood of Jesus Christ, bring every thought and imagination of my child’s mind, every emotion of his heart, every deed of his hands, and every step that he takes under Your Lordship. Lead him to love You with all of his heart, mind, and soul, and his neighbor as himself.”

With that, I touched him with the blood of Jesus. Then I asked the Lord, “What now?”
He said, “Leave him with Me.”

I laid my son at the foot of the cross. Although the dream ended, in my heart, there my son remains.

Since there have been great changes for the better in my son’s life. Of course I still pray for him, but I pray in confidence now rather than out of desperation and fear. Like the persistent mother, I have laid him at Jesus’ feet. His love is healing him. Jesus wants my son to be well, too.

While I “saw” all of this in a dream, I have prayed the prayer of the persistent mother with many mothers and grandmothers who are struggling to bring their children to mental and spiritual health in a world where Satan actively seeks to destroy them. And until we receive what we seek, we will stay on our knees pleading for the healing of our children’s souls believing in the powerful love of Jesus…

Loving Your Prodigal

H. Norman Wright has written a book Loving Your Prodigal, and I read an interview with him by Carla Barnhill. I personally did not agree with everything he said, but I found the answer to this question to be enlightening.

So if a child does rebel, despite the parent’s best efforts, it must be devastating. How can parents deal with the emotions that come with a prodigal child?

I counsel parents to start by allowing themselves to grieve the loss they’re experiencing. This is a major upset. Your family is not turning out the way you hoped it would and that brings on a whole myriad of emotions—guilt, anger, blame, confusion, doubt. Those emotions have to be dealt with in order for the family to stay healthy and deal with the crisis in an effective way.

I encourage parents to find a support group through their church or a community organization. When parents withdraw into themselves, the only people they’re talking to about this is each other and they aren’t experts. They’re people in pain. They need comfort. They need encouragement. They need guidance.

After a while, I think parents simply have to relinquish their child and give him or her to God.This should be the first thing we do, but for many parents, we’ll exhaust our own resources before recognizing that God will be the one to bring change. You almost have to detach yourself from the child and realize that you can’t control him and bring him back. What you can do is what we ended up doing. We prayed that, since Sheryl wouldn’t listen to us, God would connect her with people she would listen to. And that’s what ended up happening. God used a friend of Sheryl’s to get her to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting where she finally saw that she had a problem. We never could have gotten her to go to AA, but her friend did.