Posted in Family & Parenting, My Life, Prodigal Children, Spiritual Upbringing

Do You Have An Unsaved Child?

Franz Christoph Janneck - The Prodigal Son Spending his Money in Riotous LivingThe Prodigal Son Spending his Money in Riotous Living’ by Franz Christoph Janneck

Do you have an unsaved child?  I have one child who has renounced the faith and is chasing after the world.  I love that child dearly and pray for that child every day, that God may be merciful and call that child to Him.  Yet, I also sometimes worry that my child may be called into eternity before any repentance happens.  If you are in a similar situation and need encouragement, here is a sermon that may be of comfort to you:

Help for Distressed Parents by Cotton Mather

Here are some notes I made of the sermon.  Pastor Schwertley speaks very fast, so any transcription errors are mine:


Proverbs 10:1

“Although the trouble of godly parents mourning over their ungodly children is, for the pugnancy of it, extra ordinary, yet alas, for the frequency of it, it is very very ordinary.”

“If a godly parent has many children, it is very seldom seen that all of them prove to be ungodly; but it is very often seen that some of them do so.”

“…when children miscarry, the mother is ordinarily most blamed for it.”

“…when children miscarry, the mother is ordinarily most hurt by them… The sinful folly of the unrighteous make them trample more upon her who bore them than they dare to do upon him who begat them.”

“…It is not in the power of one man to give grace unto another.”

“The result of all this is this: You ought to patiently submit to the sovereign will of God and the affliction that He has laid upon you.”

“Since you are afflicted with ungodly children, you should set yourselves to make a right use of your affliction.”

“The use that you should make of your deplorable affliction is to be in examination, humiliation, and reformation.”

“There are especially two sorts of sins in yourselves after which the ungodliness of your children should provoke your inquiries. First, have not you formerly grieved the hearts of your own parents? It may be that it is for this that your children are now grieving yours… There is no sin so sure of recompense in this life as that of wilfully grieving the heart of a parent. Yea, it is a sin that rarely, if ever, misses an exemplary retaliation here.”

“Second, have you not sinned against these untowardly children?… Have you instructed these children as you should have done?… Or ask yourselves whether your conduct in your house has been according to that rule of Ephesians 6:4… Have you not sometimes been too fond of them? [and not restrained them]… Or have you not sometimes been too fierce to them?… Finally, have you prayed for your children with effectually fervent supplications [each by name every day]?”

“If God through these two iniquities discover any transgression within you, then ask yourself whether you have thoroughly repented of all your own youthful ungodliness of any kind whatever… Many a godly person needs a renewed repentance for the youthful iniquity of his heels, which by his forgetfulness he has not even laid at his heels. Now his children afterwards are left unto the very same iniquity so that they may with suitable recollections repent of their own iniquities over and over again.”

Re assurance: “Are you much afflicted when you see your children strangers unto God, Christ, and holiness?… This now is a comfortable mark of a new creature in you.”

Re seeking your child’s repentance: If possible, don’t utterly push them away. Don’t be angry without also making it clear to them how much you care. Never allow yourself to curse your child because God may allow your curses to come upon your child.

Use reproofs, restraints, and requests. Admonish your children regarding the evils to which they are giving themselves. Use the Scriptures and cause your children to read what they say. Curb, check, and correct your child as you can. Guard the company they keep. Pray without ceasing and fast for your ungodly children. Plead God’s promises. Do not despair. “Delays are not denials.”


Here is a book you may also wish to check out:  Come Back, Barbara

And some articles on prodigals and raising children up in general:

What Should We Do When They Stray?

Parenting Prodigal Children

Mom and Dad, Your Job is Not Over

Seven Times the Sons of Hell

Teaching Children God’s Word

To Every Mom And Dad: A Bible Reading Plan for children that’s simple, systematic, interactive, do-able, and full of Bible

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4 thoughts on “Do You Have An Unsaved Child?

  1. So, if that child becomes Christian again before dying, you’ll say God was responsible for this … and if God doesn’t call that child back, you’ll say the child was responsible for this. God plainly has at least one uncritical fan on Planet Earth.

    1. ????? I would encourage you to familiarize yourself with people’s beliefs before you try to criticize them. My child never was a “Christian” in the sense that this post was talking about and so can never be a “Christian again” as you put it. As for the rest of your comment, I’ve always found the resort to ad hominems and straw men to be indicative of an inability to engage with the actual ideas under discussion. If you would like to have an honest discussion on theology, please feel free to comment back. Otherwise, I wish you nothing but happy trails!

  2. Thanks for correcting my ignorance. As an explanation of that ignorance and of any incorrect assumptions on my part — NOT as an excuse for these! — I should point out that I was never Christian either, and that (as far as I can trace back) my family hasn’t had any Christian members at any time. Therefore, I cannot expect to know some facts that you, perhaps, cannot imagine _not_ knowing,

    1. I wasn’t always a Christian so I’m not sure what “facts” you think I can’t imagine not knowing or why you think I somehow have a deficiency in the imagination department :-).

      BTW, the word “Christian” is somewhat meaningless today since it is used to encompass a variety of contradictory belief systems (Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, etc.). What I mean by “Christian” is something very specific that used to be understood in American society but no longer is.

      My family is a mix of different religions but is predominantly humanist. What is yours?

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