Member of AWSA

  Info about AWSA


[See their Bios on the Partners Page by clicking on the Blogger box, above]


Lina AbuJamra

Sue Badeau

Dianne Barker

Twila Belk

Dr. Michelle Bengtson

Gail Bones

Harriet Bouchillon

Mary Carver

Jeanne Cesena

Pamela Christian

Lisa Copen

Erin Davis

Diane Dean

Deb DeArmond

Kelly DeChant

Danna Demetre

Melissa Edgington

Debbi Eggleston

Pat Ennis

Morgan Farr

Pam Farrel

Sally Ferguson

Liz Cowen Furman

Gail Goolsby

Sheila Gregoire

Kate Hagen

Doreen Hanna

Holly Hanson

Becky Harling

Debbie Harris

Nali Hilderman

Cathy Horning

Kathy Howard

Mary James

Priscilla Jenson

Lane P. Jordan

Rebecca Jordan

Ellie Kay

Maria Keckler

Sylvia Lange

Debby Lennick

Peggy Leslie

Kathi Lipp

Kolleen Lucariello

Kathi Macias

Paula Marsteller

Melissa Mashburn

Dianne Matthews

Cindi McMenamin

Elaine W. Miller

Kathy Collard Miller

Lynn Mosher

Karen O'Connor

Yvonne Ortega

Arlene Pellicane

Ava Pennington

Laura Petherbridge

Gail Purath

Marcia Ramsland

Kaley Rhea

Rhonda Rhea

Vonda Rhodes

Cynthia Ruchti

Julie Sanders

Judy Scharfenberg

Deedra Scherm

Laurel Shaler

Joanie Shawhan

Stephanie Shott

Poppy Smith

Susan K. Stewart

Stacie Stoelting

Letitia "Tish" Suk

Jill Swanson

Janet Thompson

Janice Thompson

Teri Thompson

Brittany Van Ryn

Elizabeth Van Tassel

Leslie Vernick

Laurie Wallin

Julie Watson

Joan C. Webb

Shonda Savage Whitworth

Cherri Williamson

Kathy C. Willis

Debbie W. Wilson

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Jamie Wood

And UPGRADE'S Founder

   Dawn Wilson


Entries in Prodigals (2)


Love Your Prodigal ... From a Former Prodigal

What I love about Sharon Paavola is her desire to give hurting women a soft place to land for comfort, encouragement and restoration. This once-wounded woman understands the power of the enemy to keep us shackled. In this Relationships UPGRADE, she offers counsel and encouragement to those with prodigals.

As a Baptist minister’s daughter, I veered from God," Sharon said. "I was drawn to teenage friends who partied. My heart walked the prodigal road and crashed, and landed in ditches along the way."

I (Dawn) watched and prayed for a prodigal for many years and then rejoiced in that prodigal's return. I know the pain that comes during the waiting process. But there are God-honoring things we can do while our heart aches.

Sharon continues . . .

I ignored the warning light on the dashboard until I didn’t see it at all.

I wanted my life my way.

I didn’t know God had a better plan for me. I didn’t trust him. What might be down His road?

My desperate need to be loved, accepted and understood brought heartache, pain and depression.

I depended on bonds with one man after another, alcohol and therapy in search of intimacy, fulfillment and belonging.

My parents prayed daily—aching on the sidelines—wondering what had happened to their third child.

One day I landed so deep in a crater I couldn’t get back out.

I was studying the Bible again (friends had persuaded me), and in a flood of tears I told God He had to take over.

I begged Him to be the Lord of my life.

Twenty years later I can testify His plan is better. His way brings the deep love, understanding, and acceptance through the power of the Holy Spirit my soul wanted.

Do you have a prodigal in your life? Your heart aches. In your despair take hope from the disciples' situation the day after Jesus' death. They had lost their vision, but God had His plan in place. On Easter Sunday, His power raised Jesus.

That same power and hope is yours!

Are you desperate to know what to do? My counsel for you lies in these ABC’s.

A - Abide in Christ yourself moment by moment.

  • Listen to His voice in the Bible to believe God is working.
  • Be wary of devising your own schemes. That’s what the one you are praying for is doing.
  • Ask your prodigal for forgiveness for any past wrongs.

B – Be on your knees in prayer.

  • Discover scriptures to pray over your loved one. Speaking God’s Word out loud brings power and destroys Satan’s deceptions.
  • Join or start a prodigal prayer group.
  • Ask the Lord to send an influential friend to them as He did with me. God is faithful!

"True, some of them were unfaithful; but just because they were unfaithful, does that mean God will be unfaithful?" (Romans 3:3)

"Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results" (James 5:16).

"The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent" (2 Peter 3:9).

C – Cast your love upon the one gone away.

  • When I married a non-Christian, my relatives conveyed their displeasure. One aunt, despite her feelings, came to my wedding. She brought her family and her love.
  • My dad agreed to perform the ceremony. Love came through to my heart!
  • Keep those invitations to family and church events sent!

You may never see your beloved live for God. I surrendered to the Lord in my forties.

Relinquish your desire into God’s capable hands. He is the Shepherd who leaves His flock to seek the one who is lost.

Will you trust God to bring your prodigal back to himself?

Sharon Paavola's passion to release people from their past, depression and pain so they can move on to hope, freedom and living in the present drives her to speak, write and encourage whenever possible. She and her husband Eric live in the San Diego, California, area. They have three grown children and a newborn grandson. Sharon blogs about life and book reviews on her website.

Graphic adapted: Image courtesy of Antranias,


How to Pray for Your Prodigal Child

Meet Janet Thompson: Janet's “Dear God” series of books are helpful and encouraging to women with many issues, but I asked her to write on the Prodigal today because I know it is dear to her heart and she can encourage others to UPGRADE their prayers.

“Are you wondering if you have a prodigal?,” Janet said. “Here’s my definition: ‘A child who is breaking the heart of his or her parents and the heart of God.’”  

Janet’s testimony and tips are positive and helpful:

I was a prodigal who raised a prodigal. I modeled worldly ways to my daughter, Kim, and she wanted to be just like me. When she was eighteen, I rededicated my life to Christ—I thought my daughter would follow after me. But she wanted nothing to do with this new “weird” mom.

When she announced she was going to live with her boyfriend when she left for college, I was heartbroken. I tried every way I could think of to dissuade her, but no amount of talking, pleading, or cajoling convinced her to change her mind.

Sobbing and sinking to my knees as I watched the taillights of my beloved only daughter’s little blue car disappear down the street as she headed off to college, I cried out to God: “Where did I go wrong?” “What can I do?” “Is it too late?”

Answers came in a devotional book which contained prayers in the form of paraphrased Scripture and a place to journal. Here are examples of verses I prayed for Kim, but you can take any verse in the Bible and personalize it because the Bible is your Guide for life. Make it personal and applicable:

Evening and morning and at noon I commit to pray and cry aloud for my daughter Kim. And You, Lord, shall hear my voice. (Psalm 55:17 NKJV)

I pray that my daughter Kim will know the truth and the truth will set him/her free. (John 8:32 NIV)

I started praying Scriptures for Kim:

Daily—I didn’t miss a day praying for her because I couldn’t stand the thought of her not being with me in heaven.

Biblically—Praying God’s Word back to Him kept me praying His will and not just my own will. I journaled my will.

Expectantly—with confidence that God would answer and act and in anticipation of how He would bring her back.

Persistently—I didn’t let myself become discouraged, even when I didn’t see any change in her and it seemed she moved further into the sinful lifestyle. I heard God’s still small voice that He wanted her back more than I did. So I kept on praying.

Sacrificially—I often fasted while praying.

Unceasingly—I never gave up, knowing my job as a praying parent was never finished.

Thankfully—always praising God for His answers to prayer even when they were different than I expected.

After five years of praying biblically, expectantly, persistently, sacrificially, unceasingly, and thankfully, my daughter started the long journey back to God and to me.

This past Mother’s Day, my "former prodigal" daughter Kim and I shared our story and our testimony of God’s faithfulness and grace at the Journey Churches Mother's Day Tea. (See photo, above).

Do you have a prodigal child?

Leave a comment if you'd like Janet and I (Dawn) to pray for you and your child.

Janet Thompson is a speaker and author of 17 books including “Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter: Hope, Help, & Encouragement for Hurting Parents” and her latest in a “Dear God series, Dear God, He’s Home! A Woman’s Guide to Her Stay-at-Home Man. Visit Janet at