Parents of a prodigal child often suffer much pain and heartache through their experience and long for hope. My friend, Judy Slegh, learned how to treat her prodigal child so that she could rediscover the jewel in him. Her efforts were successful. She shares the life-changing process the Holy Spirit led her through in today’s post.

On a recent episode of Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast, I chatted with Judy about how to gain hope and healing when your loved one has gone astray. If you missed that episode, you can click to listen here: Prodigal Child: Hope and Healing When Your Loved One Has Gone Astray – Episode 110. Judy shares about having a prodigal child and all she learned through that experience.

How to Treat A Prodigal Child: Rediscover the Jewel
By Judy Slegh

When we focus on our prodigal, we often see the garbage in their life. We become frustrated with them as they willfully waste their time, energy, and aptitudes. We wish we could change them back to what they were.

We can try to change them by controlling the situation, but often it is fruitless. They have free will and are using it well.

How to treat your prodigal child

What is another solution?

We can call out their potential. God created them to be a jewel with unique talents, traits, and gifts.

As my children grew up, each displayed unique characteristics and talents. I wrote these down as a design log for each child after reading the book called, Discovering Your Child’s Design by Ralph Mattson. Little did I know how helpful this would be as I experienced my prodigal situation.

Dustin, my prodigal son, at an early age, noticed the needs of people and wanted to love people as Jesus did. In his design journal, I had recorded an instance where he expressed care and concern for an older man eating alone at the age of 4. He felt the man was lonely and he wanted to be his friend. This happened many times when we were out. Later, in middle school, he packed extra food for a classmate that didn’t have a nourishing lunch. Later, he reached out to help at a youth ranch through volunteer activities in college.

When Dustin doubted himself or his abilities, I would say, “Dustin, God created you to be a people person. You don’t need to compare yourself with others.”

When he chose to walk away from a vibrant and active faith after college, I didn’t see the God-given potential anymore. He was no longer a jewel in my eyes. Instead, I saw him covered with mud. I saw his actions, which made me sad. I saw the deceit he was living under and speaking. I saw the lure of sin that seemed attractive and benign to him. I would gently point these issues, but he would dispel my concerns. Then the reality hit when he was picked up for driving under the influence. I started praying fervently for a change.

Rediscover the jewel in your prodigal child

Nothing changed until someone, whom I didn’t know, stated, “God is encouraging you to speak His declarations over a lost loved one. They will come true.”

After spending time in prayer, I created a list and spoke declarations on how I wanted God to change Dustin. Then God corrected me.

“Judy, those are your desires, not mine. Rediscover the jewel in Dustin. Speak this as a declaration,” God gently chided me.

I was busted. I asked God to clean my heart of offense, hurt and judgment. As I forgave Dustin, I broke all judgments I had made in my mind against him. I released disappointment and many other emotions. I requested Holy Spirit to fill me up and to renew my mind with correct thinking. I prayed for God to give me His perspective of truth regarding my son.

This was a process, and in the end, God gave me two declarations to speak, “Dustin will operate out of Jesus’s heart and the DWI will not be on his record long term.” I wasn’t given the plan or the method of how this would happen. I was reminded to recall the jewel in my prodigal.

As I spoke these declarations out loud, I discovered I became convinced of their truth. It gave me peace and a sense of partnering with God. After another difficulty, Dustin rediscovered the Heavenly Father that knew and loved him. He is now living as God’s gem.

I encourage you to rediscover the jewel by removing the mud and the muck through forgiveness. It will allow you to think hope and to speak hope from God’s perspective.

A prayer you can pray

Father, come and guide me in the process of rediscovering the jewel in my prodigal. Help me to identify the areas I need to address so I can have a renewal of the mind. Amen.

Do you have a prodigal child? We’d love to hear your insights or concerns in the comments below.


About Judy R. Slegh

Judy R. Slegh, author of Help! I have a prodigal!Judy R. Slegh is passionate in helping others get free of emotional baggage through healing prayer. Writing her first book, Help! I Have a Prodigal, she combined her personal experiences with a prodigal son with the healing prayer tools she uses as leader of Nephros Ministries. She found it a joy to speak into her biology student’s lives for seventeen years and now brings hope to the imprisoned through leading a birthday card ministry called Affirming You. Being a Minnesotan, she enjoys kayaking on lakes and rivers as well bird watching and biking with her husband Daryl.

Stay connected with Judy: Website / Instagram / Facebook / Facebook Group / LinkedIn


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Parents of a prodigal child often suffer much pain and heartache through their experience and long for hope. My friend, Judy Slegh, learned how to treat her prodigal child so that she could rediscover the jewel in him. Her efforts were successful. She shares the life changing process the Holy Spirit led her through in today’s post. #prodigal #hope #healing #parenting #faith