QUICK HIT: In Praying for Your Prodigal, Kyle Idleman reveals the stories of those praying for their prodigals—their hopes, their hurts, their heartache. You also see the story of salvation—from rebellion to recognition to redemption.
Aha – (interj.) A sudden understanding, recognition, or resolution.
According to Kyle Idleman, an AHA! Moment is always comprised of three ingredients:
- A Sudden Awakening
- Brutal Honesty
- Immediate Action
But what if you’re awaiting an AHA! from someone else? While Praying for Your Prodigal focuses on the parent-child relationship, the principles of the book could be extrapolated to any prodigal, regardless of relationship. In ten short chapters, each prefaced with a letter from a parent to a prodigal, Idleman examines the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 and uses it as an archetype for all prodigals, providing readers with an idea of what their personal prodigal needs.
Praying for Your Prodigal is a book targeted to a specific audience. It’s not a book-length treatise. I’d guess the whole thing weighs in at under 9,000 words. It’s the kind of book that you give to someone hurting or pick up for yourself for what can either be a quick read or a lingering, prayerful study, depending on your closeness to the topic.
Idleman treats the subject well, intertwining Scripture and exhortation. You see the story from those praying for their prodigals—their hopes, their hurts, their heartache. You also see the story of salvation—from rebellion to recognition to redemption. As I read through this, I thought two things:
First, it is a terrible thing that this is a needed book. I know the pain of those close to you being so far away from God. It is difficult to watch someone go down the path of rebellion and not know how to make them return or if they ever will.
Second, this is a needed book. Its existence alone means that if you are going through this, you are not alone. There are those you can reach out to for support and encouragement and empathy. It can assure you that your child going astray is not directly your fault, or lead you to repent of any part of their rebellion that you may have incited. It directs you back to the Father and unites your story with His, so that you are hurting together with the God of the Universe.
In sum, Idleman’s presents a very thoughtful, very concise book on a very sensitive topic. If you’re going through this pain, this is one that you’ll want to read through.