Praying for a prodigal

“Never stop praying for hopeless cases. The example of Howard Cadle teaches us there are none.”

That’s the way Robert J. Morgan begins one of his stories in his very helpful book Moments for Families with Prodigals. If you are a parent  or spouse living with the ever-present pain of a prodigal reading one to two pages in this book a day would help you through the darker hours. Morgan recounts Cadle’s story as follows:

Cadle grew up in a home of Christian mother and an alcoholic father. By age twelve, he had begun to emulate his father, drinking and raging out of control. Soon he succumbed to the power of sex, gambling, and the Midwest crime syndicate.

“Always remember, son” his worried mother often said, “that at eight o’clock every night I’ll be kneeling beside your bed, asking God to protect my precious boy.” But her prayers didn’t seem to slow him down — until one evening on rampage he pulled a gun on a man and squeezed the trigger. The weapon never fired, and someone quickly knocked it away. Cadle noticed it was exactly eight o’clock.

Later, in broken health, he was told by a doctor that he had only six months to live. Dragging himself home, penniless and pitiful, he collapsed in his mother’s arms, saying, “Mother, I’ve broken your heart. I’d like to be saved, but I’ve sinned too much.”

The old woman opened her Bible and read Isaiah 1:18: “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow.” That windswept morning, March 14 1914, Cadle started life anew. With Christ now in his heart, he  turned his con skills into honest pursuits…giving 75 percent of his income to the Lord’s work. He helped finance Rodney “Gipsey” Smith’s crusades, in which thousands came to Christ…

Morgan adds,

While we’re praying without ceasing — and many of us find ourselves praying day and night for our children — it does help to have specific, disciplined habit of prayer on behalf of a wayward child. You might find a prayer partner who will covenant to pray with you at the same time each week. Prayer will win the victory, and the faithful prayers of a parent or grandparent are among the most potent forces in the universe.