There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to tear down and a time to build…
(Ecclesiastes 3:1, 3b)
A time to tear down…
Let me be clear about something…there is never a time to tear down your child! Yet we can do that without even realizing it. And in some cases, we’re very aware of our verbal (perhaps even abusive) rants. I will be completely honest…I’ve had my moments where I’ve slipped into that mode. It’s hurtful and very damaging. While it may take time and some work to repair the damage done, it’s not impossible (with God’s help).
Our focus should instead be on tearing down the lies. These are the lies that come from other people, the world and Satan. We don’t always know the lies that our children are battling with, so it’s important to seek God for guidance. Even without specifics, we can declare truth to be a banner over our child. We can ask God to remove any blinders standing in the way.
When we are aware of the lies, we should look for scripture that applies. Depending on your child and the circumstances, you may want to share those verses. Whether or not that’s possible, pray scripture over your child. It’s not uncommon to feel at a loss for words when praying for a prodigal. Even when we do have the words, nothing replaces praying the Word of God. It’s the most effective way to tear down the lies.
A time to build…
When my child is acting right, it’s much easier to build him up. It becomes a significant challenge when a prodigal is making harmful or hurtful choices. It’s up to us to see the potential–which sometimes can only happen through the eyes of God.
Declare to your child, if appropriate, what you see that perhaps he doesn’t see. The good that God has planned…the ability to redeem…the positive characteristics lying dormant that have the potential to arise…hope that can be found in the most desolate places.
When a prodigal can’t or won’t receive words of encouragement, you can still declare them in prayer. And more importantly, determine in your heart that with God’s strength, you will find ways to build him up. Yes, regardless of what he says or does. Despite the hurt he causes you. In spite of the way things look. God is a rebuilder. Trust that He is working behind the scenes to rebuild what the enemy has attempted to tear down.